Things I want to remember

This picture needs sound. Because cute!

This picture needs sound. Because cute!

Piper:

On October 7th Piper rolled over from back to front for the first time! I never want to forget that. What I DO want to forget is that she rolled right off the ottoman and onto the floor. How you say? Well, I’ll tell you. I like to put her on the ottoman and sit on the floor so she can kick and wiggle but I am right there at face level. The better to eat her cheeks with, my dear. Anyway, lightning fast she just up and flipped herself right off. And she was never placed on the ottoman again. Amen.

She is still very quiet, but the other day Max was singing to her her “The player’s gonna play, play, play, play, play” and she smiled and squeaked “ah, ah, ah, ah, ah” imitating Max. It was AWESOME.

 

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Huck:

The other day as we were driving home from a wonderful birthday party and bonfire at a farm we heard Huck from the backseat cheer with glee “HUCK! YAAAAAAY!!” I’m not sure exactly what he was cheering, unless it was to congratulate himself on covering the van, himself and his carseat in popcorn puke, but it was gleeful nonetheless and adorable and honestly we had the giggles over it for about 20 minutes. We may have also been laughing because the whole van was covered in puke and there were only two options: laugh or cry.

He still wants to hold hands and cuddle, he is my snuggle bug. He still says “mine” instead of my and I will weep when he abandons that. “you want to hold mine hand?” yes, Boo I totally do. He wants me to hold his foot or hand while he is in his car seat, which is sweet but problematic as it’s hard to do that and drive. Also dangerous. So he has to wait until a red light and then I squeeze those toes – because he will not keep shoes on- for all they are worth until the lights change!

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Max:

Max is doing great at school, his confidence is growing and he is just so sweet! I actually got an email from a mother of a little girl in his class and she said that apparently her daughter was a little lost because they got there a touch late, all the kids all line up together and go into class at once and she had missed it. Max was also a little late that day and they saw him go to her and help her get to class. I don’t think I have ever been so proud. And it was all the better because he didn’t know her father was watching, or that anyone would ever know about it. Just that his friend was lost and getting upset and he took care of her. What a sweetheart!

These three. My whole world and so, so, very loud, crazy-making and utterly delightful

thesethreeWM

 

5 cute (inexpensive things) for Fall.

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{via pinterest} {obviously this is not me but she is wearing THE jeans!}

 

I admit I am among the many bloggers who long for boots, leggings, and Starbucks in the fall. Oh, who are we kidding? Starbucks is a year long want. It’s seasonless, Starbucks is the new Starbucks.

Anyway, here are five relatively inexpensive things that are rocking my fall!

1. Mossimo Skinny Boyfriend Jeans from Target.

Run, don’t walk and grab these. SO comfy, so cute and so affordable! (Don’t judge by the picture on the website, it sucks.) I bought 2 pair and I might get the light wash too, they are that comfy and cute. They aren’t high waisted but the back comes up high enough so that when you bend over or sit down you aren’t showing- you know- your chonies. (Crack is indeed whack.) Size down, guys. WAY down. As in I bought a size 0. So vanity sizing in full effect, but so damn cute! Cartwheel currently has a 25% off code too! Grab. Them.

2. Bandolino Cay Riding Boots $99 (but there’s a coupon the site!)

I haven’t gotten these yet, but as soon as they arrive I’ll take pictures because they are CUTE and look way more expensive than they are. I really want those Frye boots but at 500 bones they will have to wait. My advice is to go a half size up because the toe box is a little short. I usually wear a 6 1/2 and I ordered a 7 (they didn’t have my size in store) I can’t wait to wear these. Jeggings, Leggings…yes. Bring it!

3. Arbonne Kiss At Midnight Lipgloss Trio

This set and the RE-9 skin care is how I ended up being a consultant. I love them that much, like I tossed all my other glosses out and ordered 2 sets of these. One for my purse and one for home. The three colors are peach, pink and berry. I’ve never found three that work so well on everyone. Pinks always turn neon on me and this one doesn’t, it is a soft pale pink that is reminiscent of the famous Chanel pink. Peach is the perfect natural gloss, just looks like healthy lips with some color. Beautiful, I wear it non-stop. Last but not least is Berry and it’s a natural raspberry with a touch of a brown undertone, it is winter perfection! I am glad I ordered two sets. All Arbonne products are not-tested on animals and are vegan, so no gross animal renderings and yuckiness like that! Best of all, they work.

aaaaaaaand it’s sold out. Okay, these are close Pink  Peach Berry
{full disclosure, I do rep/sell Arbonne so if you buy them feel free to use my consultant ID #21290203 or you can search for a consultant in your area}

4. Plaid Scarves: Recently there was a buzzfeed that was all “Here are some past trends that might still be in your closet” and scarves was on the list. From my cold dead hands, people. Scarves make everything better. Everything. This year I am really digging plaid. I grabbed blue and red this one from Target just the other day while I was grocery shopping. (groceries at Target. Genius or GENIUS?) I am guessing I will grab the red multi colored one too! Because I will need milk, diapers and accessories next week.

5. Revlon Gel Envy nail polish

I have really thin bendy nails. Manicures are pointless because if I don’t smudge them immediately (hello, my name is Stephanie and I am a massive klutz!) which I always do, they chip within a day because no matter how snort they are cut they bend and the polish pops off. Gel manicures are the greatest invention for me, but I can’t carve out time to go get a mani every two weeks! Enter Revlon. This stuff dries crazy quick and stays on! I don’t get the full 14 days I get 6 maybe 7, but for me that is amazing! And because it dries so quickly it’s really easy to do my nails at home and I feel like nice nails  sort of help with distracting people from the ever present baby spit up on my right shoulder. I have Queen Of Hearts, Cardshark and Hold Em in heavy rotation right now!

 

So there they are! 5 things I am digging for fall! None of those (except Arbonne) are affiliate links or anything like that, I just love them!

Now, go get yourself a Starbucks. And some jeans…cause SERIOUSLY!

Thing I shouldn’t love but do: The Red Band Society

Apparently I am not too old for teen dramas…and this one is a doozy. WHY do I like this show? There are so, so many things so very wrong with it, and yet…I love.

If you’re not familiar with the show it takes place in a pediatric hospital wing and focuses on several long term patients. And boy does it deal in stereotypes. The central character is a super cute-even bald- young preppy white soccer player named Leo, he is charming and charismatic and making his way through cancer and the loss of his leg the best he can.  Next up is his best friend Dash, a young African American who has Cystic Fibrosis and yet still smokes, steals doctors cars and dresses like Kid and Play had a baby. Then there’s Kara, the heartless blond cheerleader who is literally in need of a new heart. Emma, the young artistic and anorexic girl and-obviously- tormented love interest for Leo. Jordi, another cute young white kid with cancer, will he lose his leg or won’t he? Inquiring minds want to know. Will he steal Emma’s heart away from new best bud Leo? Stay tuned. And last but not least, Kara the mean cheerleader’s roommate, a young boy named Charlie who is in a coma but communicates with the others whenever they lose consciousness or have surgery.

Obviously.

In the pilot episode Leo gives everyone one of his red medical bracelets thus forming a Red Band Society. Let’s discuss how incredibly, incredibly, INCREDIBLY dangerous it is to be wearing someone else’s medical information on your person. Even if you are long term in-patient and the doctors and nurses know you, stuff happens. Did I mention how DANGEROUS this?

And yet…I love.

I have to say that the key to the reason I do love the show is it is incredibly well cast. All the kids are really wonderful and so far handle everything earnestly, even poor Kara who is locked in with the most one note cheerleader character is finding some room for growth. Red Band Society also has Octavia Spencer as the lead nurse and ZOMG My So Called Life’s Wilson Cruz as a nurse and dude I hope they unleash these two and let them fly because to have Octavia Spencer and not give her more than be the grumpy nurse with a secret heart of gold is a shame. A damn shame.

So, to sum up: this show is full of wrongness and issues and I am far, far too old to love it and yet…here I go, checking to see if there’s a new episode onDemand. Because Lord knows I don’t get to watch anything live!

 

 

Max’s Beatles theme birthday

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This is the second year in a row I have neglected to write about Max’s birthday. Shame on me. Max is very particular in what he wants and his party this year was no different. He wanted a Beatles themed party with cardboard guitars and a jam session.

DONE!

When I asked what he wanted for his birthday he said “A mandolin and a YouTube Channel.” Well, he got a mandolin, just like every six year old boy. I love him.

His friends gathered and played and hung out and ate and celebrated my sweet, funny, kindhearted, musical boy. He is so very special and it was lovely to see how his friends accept and love him for who he is. I hope that continues and he offers the same to them.

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And the food? You. Guys. I don’t want to brag, but I do have the best girlfriends in the world and two of these best girlfriends in the world happen to be two of the best cooks in the world. When I was pregnant and had HG I would send my girls Bridget and Kelly pins of food and say “When I can eat…I am eating this.” And one of those things was a meatball sub on a stick. And Bridget made them for the party and I ate them all. Kelly brought her John Lemmon bars and OMG I am not even one for lemon and I ate about a billion of these. The Yellow Submarine cake was of course made by my awesome sister in law and it was rainbow trippy inside.

 

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Someone, who shall remain nameless unless you look at the URL of this site, managed to slice her ring finger to the bone while cutting the very first cardboard guitar the day before the party so my father in law-after shuttling me to urgent care for stitches- came home and cut out about 20 cardboard guitars. I think he would agree that it was worth it!

All of it was worth it, including now knowing what my knuckle joint looks like and sacrificing a ring that had to be cut off my finger.

This face?

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WORTH IT!

Just call her Piper Poppins.

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Piper has been on this here green earth for three months and it seems like the blink of an eye! Why is three months an interminable length of time when you are pregnant and yet barely a breath when the baby arrives? No fair.

If there is one thing that Piper is, it’s adored. Max calls her Pippi Beautiful and says he can’t resist her because she is just so cute. Huck wants to just squeeze her till her head pops off, and if I had a dollar for every time I said PLEASE LEAVE YOUR SISTER ALONE! I could buy the most tricked out momma wagon in history. We are talking diamond encrusted steering wheel. Sometimes I think it’s all I say!

We’ve already developed several nicknames for her, Pippi, Pippilicious, Pippita Friskita Bandita Snugglita and of course, Pippi Poppins. Because she is practically perfect in every way. Obviously.

When she fusses (which is anytime she is put down because she would prefer to be held and snuggled every second of the day thankyouverymuch) you can hear two little boy voices quickly respond “I’m coming Piper!” It’s incredibly sweet, and sometimes frustrating. Huck is both obsessed with her and feeling a little displaced but luckily is madly in love and doesn’t resent her.

She is finally vocalizing, her coos are so cute! She smiles – mostly at her brothers, and wiggles with joy when you talk to her. She’s just…so sweet. She holds on to you when you pick her up and snuggles right in. It’s hard to put her down and so the laundry stays unfolded. Because she is the last baby and we all want to inhale her as much as we can. Especially me. Sometimes at night I just tuck her in bed with me to nurse because I don’t want to be away from her, even when she is just a few feet away in the basinet. She still wakes 2-3 times a night to nurse, sister is hungry! At 3 months she weighs 14 pounds, more than double her birth weight! She handled her first shots like a champ and once again I am just happily mindboggled at how much babies change from day to day.

She is, indeed, practically perfect in every way.

 

This entry was posted in Piper.

Ways this Kindergarten Mom is just like One Direction Fangirl.

I’ve long since grown out of my preteen/teen fangirl-dom. Or so I thought. Until I realized that Kindergarten pick up was very similar to the tweens outside the 1D concert.

Fangirl catching a glimpse of Harry Styles, OR is it a gif of me catching a glimpse of my son waiting to get picked up?

Trapped in traffic getting to the concert or me trapped in the parking lot while I can see him looking sad because he doesn’t see me?

Teen waving furiously to attract Liam’s attention or me leaning out the window of my rad minivan waving to my baby?

When Niall won’t post for a picture or when I catch a glimpse of him trying to talk a friend in line and they don’t notice him.

When Zayne give you a smile or when Max sees me and gives me that special little wave and jump that he has seen me:

When I finally get to hug him after school:

 

I may no longer be a tween fangirl, but sometimes I sure act like it. Luckily right now he thinks it’s cool. But before you know it this will be him when he sees me coming:

 

Good Luck to him! And also to his little brother and sister. Cause I’m gonna do the same damn things to them!

 

 

 

Helping your anxious child

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Starting Kindergarten is an adjustment for every child, but when you have an anxious child it can be particularly stressful. We’ve been working very hard to build Max’s confidence and give him some tools he can use himself when he feels anxious. As school has been progressing we have seen an uptick in his anxiety attacks and I thought I’d share with you some of the things we have been using in case your child is also suffering from anxiety.

Try not to get frustrated with them:
This can be really hard when it’s bedtime and suddenly they are panicked. I have gotten frustrated a time or two (or three) and this really does nothing but make Max feel unheard and more uneasy. He is coming to me because he knows I can and will make him feel safe. When I discount that, it makes his anxiety worse. It also ends up taking a lot longer to go through the attack and come out the other side than if I had just stopped and gone through it with him. Trust me, even when the timing couldn’t be worse, using a kind voice and reassuring them that you are there with them really helps. They’re not manipulating us or lying, they are in distress and even when it really is frustrating taking the time to honor their experience is the best path.

Deep breathing can reset the central nervous system:
We practice deep breathing together. This helps settle his nervous system and keeps him from hyperventilating. Sometimes we add a phrase to it like “good thoughts in, bad thoughts out” as we breathe.

Focus on the present:
I talk him through what’s happening right now. For instance “right now we are sitting together on the couch, we are cuddled up and your brother is playing play doh, your sister is napping and everything is okay.” This can also be helpful if you have other children. I have a three year old and a baby still nursing, so sometimes I have to deal with more than one child crisis at a time. This can be a good thing because he learns the world keeps going even while he is panicking. I can say “I’m nursing Piper right now, come snuggle me and let’s breathe.” Then we can go right into what is happening, we are snuggling while Piper eats and Huck is drinking milk…etc.

There is no rhyme or reason to the triggers and they frequently have nothing to do with anything:
My son can sometimes see something really scary on the news and it doesn’t affect him at all (I try to change the channel or turn the tv off so he doesn’t see it, but sometimes things happen) but then last night he had a big panic attack because he thought we sold an old guitar at our yard sale last summer. Last summer as in 2013 summer. Sometimes the triggers are clear and easily handled and sometimes it seems like they are out of left field and in a foreign language, and this can be frustrating (see my first tip) just know that whatever it is, however it is exhibiting itself it is very real to our children. Even if it makes no sense to us at all.

Listen to them:
Sometimes Max can verbalize exactly what is happening with him, what set him off and how he is feeling. If I listen and acknowledge and validate his feelings -not by assuring him that the laundry was indeed a monster but by saying “I understand, sometimes things look different in different lights and that can be scary” that goes a long way.

Tell them they are not alone:
At some point in our lives we have felt anxious about something. Use that. We forget sometimes how small their worlds are. I remember the first time I told Max that I had felt that way too. It blew his mind. He truly thought he was the only person in the world suffering and that made him feel very alone. Now he knows I have felt that way, and Daddy and Grandma too.

Celebrate their victories:
After a particularly rough bedtime he woke in the morning full of pride that he had made it through the night. So we celebrated that. Good Job Max!

If they are old enough, explain the physiology:
Towards the end of his anxiety attack last night he said his heart felt jumpy and that scared him. I explained in very simple terms adrenaline and how it works. Then I used an example of when it works in his favor, for instance on the baseball field. When the ball comes to him his body releases a jolt of adrenaline and that lets him hit, run or catch the ball quickly without even thinking about it. But it’s no good when you’re feeling anxious and your body reacts to what your mind is thinking. He really liked knowing how that worked and his heart racing was a little less scary.

Distract them:
We talk about happy things. We are going to the zoo this week with his friends and he can’t wait. We had a great time at a petting zoo this weekend and that was cool, we go over how he fielded that ball in the game last week. Things like that. We talk about Christmas or birthdays or whether we think his friend is getting a new sister or brother. We talk about whatever cute thing Huck or Piper did that day. You get the point.

Listen when they tell you what they need:
Max is getting very good at asking for what he needs, whether it is snuggles, to breathe, to go over happy things whatever it is. Sometimes if he has an attack during the day he will come to me and say he is having trouble and he needs a snuggle or to do “the thing” The thing is simply breathing and I talk him through calming down.

Make sure they get enough sleep and eat right:
If Max doesn’t get enough sleep or has too much sugar his anxiety goes up. He is now old enough to know that one affects the other and sometimes when I say “Okay you’ve already had a popsicle so no more” he accepts it easier because he knows if he has too much sugar it’s harder for him. On the other hand there have been times when this exact thing can cause panic. For instance he doesn’t want cake at a birthday party because he is afraid of having a panic attack. I reassured him that it was okay to have the cake and we would have a good dinner with a lot of protein to balance it out. He was then able to have the cake happily and let go of that worry.

Find a bedtime routine that reassures them and helps them sleep:

This can take a great deal of trial and error, but finding a way to send them off to dreamland feeling secure and cared for is important for all children, but especially those with anxiety.
We have created ‘The thing” and he asks every night if we can do it. It’s a bit of a guided relaxation we have developed together. We start with breathing, then go over the happy things from the day, then breathe and thinking about what’s happening at this exact moment and then we take a deep breath in and blow out and then we sing a song. Sometimes it’s Here Comes The Sun but mostly it’s Baby Mine and then we go to sleep.

Work on something they can do by themselves out in the world:
We are working on this, right now he knows he can go into the restroom and just breathe if he needs too. We haven’t developed a real game plan for this but so far just knowing he can do that if he needs to is okay. I also tell him to draw a picture of what’s scaring him if he is at school and then we can talk about it when he gets home.

As with anything, it takes a while to figure out what works for our kids. I hope this helps. This is what works for us.

 

 

 

 

And on this the *cough cough* day of my birth…

 

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Every year around this time, we indulge in several of my favorite things…apple ciders, scarves, boots, and you know, it’s also my birthday. (I like my birthday. Who doesn’t like a day where everyone you ever met sends you a facebook message wishing you a good day!) Every year as I wrap myself in a scarf and scroll all the internet shopping sites for the perfect pair of caramel leather riding boots that aren’t more expensive than my van, I think to myself this, this is the year I am gonna get my shit together. 

Then another year passes and I am still sipping my hard apple cider, wrapped in a scarf, looking for this years perfect boots and my proverbial shit? still not together.

At what age do I manage to learn how to master the illusive task of washing, drying, folding AND putting away all of the unending laundry? When do I know what I want to be when I grow up?

This year is not a big birthday, but yet another year has passed and I feel as if I have been treading water for a while now.

Now I fight both acne and ‘fine lines’ and how is THAT fair? I no longer want to pay a lot of money to look fashionably homeless and disheveled, but I am not ready for the ever present cruise wear tunic of the ‘women’s department’. I am somewhere trapped between the juniors and seniors and struggling to find my way.

My new fashion rule of thumb is Am I pulling an Amy Poehler in Mean Girls? Cause if so…then no. 

I am done having children. Still in the thick of baby and toddler boot camp. I am more concerned about what is in my kids food and products. I am frightened by how we keep saying we’ve made all this progress and yet it doesn’t really seem we have… I am guilty for feeling so thankful that if someone sees my boys on the street in a hoodie their first thought probably won’t be ‘thug’, and I worry about their friends who aren’t afforded this privilege.I am worried my daughter will be as insecure and sick as I was, that she will turn her insecurity on herself in destructive ways as I did.

I am hopeful they will  come out the other side of all that pre-teen and teen bull unscathed…or at least only gently scarred.

And I hope this is the year I get my shit together. I’ll start by folding the laundry.

Multitasking Baby Style..

This picture has nothing to do with anything. I just like it.

This picture has nothing to do with anything. I just like it.

When I was nursing Max at night I would hover over a book dimly lit by an ineffective booklight. I chose something mindless…the Twilight Series. Good Lord. I don’t think I read anything with Huck, I was too exhausted. For Christmas this past year Zach gave me a mini iPad and along with my Arbonne RE-9, my trusty old second hand Louis and my birthday sapphire it is my very favorite material object I own. Having been to this rodeo before Zach hooked me up. He put Netflix and Oyster on there and changed my life.

For reals.

There are times when Piper shotguns at night and is back asleep in ten minutes from start to finish, then there are times when she wants to enjoy her meal…for like 2 hours. I am no longer hunched over reading a dimly lit book, oh no, I am reading good book after good book on oyster and watching both good (West Wing) and bad (Hemlock Grove) shows on Netflix.

I confess I like reading in the late hours better than watching. I was such a big reader before the babies came and this has made me fall in love with it. In the last two months I may be a suburban mom who frequents Target and Starbucks but I have suffered incredible heartbreak, come of age as a lesbian in a revival religion, followed a young woman as she pieces her life back together and discovers hidden secrets in her family and left my aching soul on a Nigerian beach with Little Bee. I have taken a journey through a young man questioning and living life from an all boys school to New York and back again. I felt as if it were happening to me as a young girl loses her parents and is adopted by her uncle, a Priest.

Reading takes me away to a world in a different way than movies or tv shows.  Sometimes my world seems very small, happy and loved but small. I don’t take grand trips and my coming of age angst has passed, but these stories keep me connected, keep me thinking of more than how to avoid watching Caillou. I hate that little bald brat.

Last night I finished In One Person, and someone asked why I would read the life of a bisexual man…why not? I am not a bisexual man, and while I did find myself feeling a bit priggish at times during it, my God what a good story. I loved the protagonists grandfather and stepfather. I wanted it to be real, I wanted to believe that in the 50’s there were such men who loved and cared and looked out for one another and their secrets. Surely there must have been.

I’m scrolling on Oyster now, just trying to decide what world to delve into next.

oh…that middle child.

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Yesterday Huck came up to me while I was working at his grandfather’s desk and said “I can’t find me.” Despite having rectified the no-printed pictures of the second born crisis, I hadn’t yet framed one for grandpa’s desk. Shame on me. Luckily this one was easily handled as I now have photos printed weekly.

So it was that this week, after months of asking, Huck started soccer. It wasn’t that we had meant to push his request aside. I just sort of got lost in life. Max had T-ball all summer then we had a baby and omg suddenly Huck had been begging for ages and no soccer had been arranged. I finally said to Zach, dude, Max was like I want baseball and BAM next day, baseball. We need to get this little Huckleberry in some soccer. BAM, next day, soccer.

Zach was insistent we take him to get him his very own new cleats (even if we already had some) and here I confess, I was wrong. Huck’s sheer glee over going to get his shoes for soccer was over the top and even if he doesn’t remember it, Zach, Max and I sure will.

Huck’s first day came early on a muggy, unbearably hot Saturday morning. We were miserable. Huck was sweaty, tired and in heaven. As he took the field Max remarked with a heavy sigh “Oh. They grow up so fast.”  Huck was the tiniest one on the team. His coach went out of his way to make sure that Huck got to grab a flag and get a cone in the games but he was thwarted by faster, stronger kids. At one point he nearly got the cone before it was swooped up by another boy. Huck stood in shock and then melted. It was so heartbreaking.

They played a game where they were cheetahs-running fast and making big kicks- and we heard his sweet little voice from across the field say “I A CHEETAH!” it was so cute and he was so, so happy.

IMG_4382-1“I a cheetah!”

So we resolve to move quicker on Huck’s interests…he may have had to wait. But it was worth it.