July 31, 2010

So Maybe I'm Aging A Little

Two years ago today I wrote this.

I'll repeat the sentiment: Yesterday I was twenty-something. Today I am twenty-something else. It's the last year I'll be able to say that, though, so I'm soaking it up.

Amidst my desire to boycott birthdays from here on out, I'm also remembering what a wonderful year this last one has been - and how much I have to be grateful for at this age. Or any age.

So the snarky woman who told me on my 25th birthday, "This is the last one you'll truly celebrate!" may have been right. I don't shout it from the rooftops or count down the days anymore. In fact, I hope time slows down stat.

But I have a little something to measure time by this year, and if getting older means more time with him, I'll take it.

This cutie's dad and I will be out for a real date night to celebrate. A night with my favorite guy, plus the possibility of a gelato nightcap? Lovely.

Boycotting my birthday doesn't mean I won't age any more than forbidding Mac to turn one this fall will keep him tiny. I'm tempted to do both, though.

This getting-older girl is very, very blessed - so that's what I'm focusing on today. Thank you so much to all of my family and friends who have made each of these 20-something years an absolute heaven on Earth. xoxo

July 30, 2010

A Presidential Wedding

It's been hard to miss the coverage of Chelsea Clinton's upcoming wedding.

Electricians in tuxes? Widened driveways for heavy limo traffic? Heated port-a-potties? (This time of year?) That's quite a wedding!

But dodging the press after a pre-wedding pedicure? Less than enviable.

I can't imagine how it would feel to have your every wedding detail leaked to the press - and now to the public as well. As a woman who's guarded her privacy this long, Chelsea deserves to celebrate such a personal moment without helicopters buzzing about overhead.

Throughout history, the nuptials of First Daughters have been newsworthy affairs. The most recent of these weddings was not nearly as covered up in paparazzi, though.

I loved the feel of Jenna Bush's wedding to Henry Hager two summers ago at the President's ranch in Texas. The big stone cross, an heirloom diamond, a low-key location, exchanging vows on your family's land. And the flowers? Jenna, you had me at "hydrangeas."

The First Twin pulled off an intimate ceremony, keeping the press at bay and managing media hysteria by releasing several official photographs.

As far as I can tell, she had the best of both worlds - a wedding at home surrounded by guests of her choosing, also celebrated tastefully by the media with a few hand-picked shots.

Despite the buzz around Chelsea Clinton's guest list (Tom Hanks, Barbra Streisand) and the over-the-top details of her reception, I'm crossing my fingers she can have a quiet, meaningful ceremony. I hope for her what we all hope for every bride - that the day turns out just as she'd wished.

It's probably best that President Obama has said he was not invited; maybe that will keep just one or two photographers in D.C. for the weekend. He's right when he says the Secret Service manpower would be unfathomable. And so would the TMZ-style coverage.

What's more your taste? Hair-down, dad-in-a-suit ranch wedding or a glamorous, flashbulb-filled New York affair?

Friday Sweetness

B caught Mac snoring like an old man in our backseat. Poor thing was a bit sweaty, too - these backward-facing babes don't get all the air conditioning we grown-ups do.

Watching him makes me want to kiss those cheeks and steal those incredible lashes. Thought you might enjoy a little Friday sweetness too.

(He must have been dreaming about his paci - or maybe a sippy cup of sweet tea?)

Happy Friday!!

July 29, 2010

Who Needs To Age Well?

I was captivated by this excited 81-year-old man's story: After 62 years apart, he is flying to see his high school sweetheart - and is nervous as can be.

I found myself anxious for Jack and hopeful that his plans to give Betty "not just one" kiss would turn out for the best. Having a camera capturing the moment raised the stakes even higher...

His back-up plan, going to live with his mother, didn't seem that terrible to me, though. If you're in your eighties and your mom is not only still alive but also independent, sing hallelujah!

Take a peek at his sweet story, captured by his filmmaker seatmate. If only there were a postscript!

It's comforting, as I approach another birthday, to know that you don't have to "age well" to have the heart of the man you love.

Perhaps such an endearment is better kept to oneself, though. I hope B doesn't feel the need to comment on how I've aged in fifty years; sticking around will be quite enough for me.

Oh Happy Day!!!!

Subtitle: I live an extremely glamorous and fascinating life.

Here's proof.

I learned something recently that I wish I'd known a long, long time ago. I'm trying not to calculate how much money it would have saved me. Maybe you knew this ages ago, but in case it's new to you as well:


Yes, that's right. Any of the 10,000 big blue coupons BB&B sends you each month can be used at Babies 'R Us, so long as the coupon is current. Try not to break your neck dancing for joy.

I'm attempting not to cringe recalling each and every baby shower gift I bought (and received!!) that could have been one-fifth less expensive. Each large purchase made by us, or for us, could have been a much better deal knowing this one tiny fact.

I tweeted about this yesterday and was disheartened at how many of us were unaware. At least I wasn't alone. But now we know, right?

I called to confirm and swung by yesterday to test it out. I was able to use a Babies 'R Us 20% coupon, two BB&B 20% off coupons and one BB&B $5 off coupon. (Thankfully the store was half empty, so no one was bothered by the many separate transactions.)

Okay, rant over. I have officially come out of the closet as a boring mom whose secret joy is in saving money on baby items. And my birthday's Saturday - fantastic. I'm feeling ancient already!

Someone please join me in celebrating.... At least let me feel like I've saved you some money, too. Does your store accept BB&B coupons?

*Note: Buy Buy Baby also accepts BB&B coupons; they are owned by the same company. As such, they'll accept coupons no matter the expiration date. Use your new coupons at B'RUs and your expired ones at BB&B. Greenville's Buy Buy Baby hasn't opened yet, I don't believe, but that's the word on the mom street.

July 22, 2010

Mac on the Move

Neither rug nor chocolate lab nor slippery hardwoods will come in between this man and his mama. I love our sweet crawler!

He's been crawling for nearly a month, but yesterday he seemed particularly determined - slapping his hands on the floor and concentrating intently on the finish line: me.

If you look closely at the end, you'll see he's pulling up; Mac loves to stand with his hands on my shoulders. Wish I could get that on camera but my arms just aren't long enough!

Just a little evidence that our man's on the move...

(P.S. B will love this video because it proves his theory that I never actually close any interior doors all the way. He'll walk through the house closing them and I can hear the "click, click, click" as he goes around. Oops! Yes, B, the pantry door is slightly ajar. You win!)

July 21, 2010


Three years ago today I married my very best friend.

We said our vows, kissed and sped back down the aisle, grinning like fools.

We took a breath after the ceremony, basking in a "we just won the lottery!" level of excitement.

We said to one another, "I'm so glad it's over!" (Little did we know it had only just begun.)

I changed my name.

I stole glances at my new husband, marveling at the word.

I felt like the luckiest, happiest girl alive.

I had cake, champagne, a sparkly new wedding band, the love of our friends and family - oh, and my Bradley. What more could a girl ask for?

Three years since have passed in a blink, but I sometimes feel as though we've been married all our lives. It's strange to feel like newlyweds who also have a lifetime of memories together. but there's no other way to describe it.

(B had two requests: that I wear my hair down and that we have Moon Pies. I don't think he's made another special request in his life, so orange and white Moon Pies were served alongside traditional RC colas. And I left my hair down.)

I couldn't have imagined that anymore happiness could exist for us. July 21, 2007 was a wonderful, wonderful day.

But the last three years have been even better. Happy anniversary to my very favorite boy in the world. I'm so glad to be your wife, to raise Mac alongside you, to spend every day laughing at absolutely nothing - and knowing you find it funny too. Nothing could make me happier than growing "old" with you.

July 20, 2010

Déja Vu

Three years ago this week, B and I were on a delightful tropical getaway celebrating our newly matching last names and left-hand rings. I have few specific memories besides hammocks, the smell of sunscreen and umbrellas in my drink - with one notable exception.

After catching a glimpse of this mugshot on our television, I remember walking over and turning it off quite forcefully. Why bog down my honeymoon with unhappy news?

Lindsay in 2007
Lindsay Lohan had been arrested for DUI - again. It made me particularly sad remembering how much I'd loved her version of The Parent Trap.

What a precious young girl; she gave Hayley Mills' original a run for its money. (Though if you haven't seen the original, you must!) Lindsay looked a lot happier in her Disney days.

After intentionally turning off that 2007 news report about her arrest, I've tried to avoid as much coverage as possible as Lindsay has continued her tailspin....

Today, though, CNN seems obsessed with covering the Earth's most important story ever in the history of time: Lindsay Lohan's visit to prison. Part deux.

(Even Lindsay seems ashamed of the hype.)

I looked at the date this morning and realized that it's been exactly three years this week since I averted my eyes. The story doesn't seem to have changed, much like those soap operas our babysitters let us watch as children; I bet we could tune back in now and still follow the storylines.

It can be considered odd to care about a person you've never met, but for her sake, I hope Lindsay's downward spiral stops here. And for my sake, I hope the media's obsession with it does too.

Tomorrow, B and I will celebrate a very happy anniversary. Lindsay's anniversary, I fear, is not nearly as happy an occasion. Here's to the last of your arrests, erstwhile Hallie Parker/Annie James!

July 19, 2010

Count Me In

Word on the street says that Meryl Streep and Tina Fey could be playing mother and daughter in an upcoming film, reportedly to be directed by Stanley Tucci. I don't need a movie title, plot synopsis or even show times - buy me a front row ticket on opening night and count me in.

Could you have two more talented women headlining a film? They don't exactly look related, but have you seen my red-haired, green-eyed peanut of a mom? Or my blonde, blue-eyed son? Anything's possible...

Does this news make anyone else really excited?? It's always refreshing to see talent be complemented, not replaced, by good looks. Hope the movie's content goes the same route.

Can't wait to see what's in store!

July 16, 2010

How Love Can Trump A Lack of Sleep

We all have new mom friends - lots of us still are new moms, or one day will be. I got some great suggestions and thought hard (really hard, as my brain has made the early days a hazy clump of diaper changes and pajama pants) about how others reached out to us after Mac's birth.

A few ideas to make new moms' lives easier:
  • Give them just a moment. The first week to ten days are a flurry of hospitals, doctor visits, family, friends and, oh yes, a brand new child. Let them settle in before you reach out.

  • Offer, don't ask. Offer to do something specific - we women aren't always the best at asking for what we need or making suggestions if a friend says, "What can I do?"

  • Help with thank you notes. Can you address them? Write them out as she nurses? Stamp and mail them for her? The nicest thing a coworker did for me was pick up stamps on her way to my house; I had 20 stampless thank you notes waiting to be mailed. I just couldn't get to the post office!

  • Share food. Always a winner. Our small group used an online meal registry to coordinate suppers for us; a friend put out monthly calendars at a baby shower last year so we could each sign up for dinners. Even sending a grocery store or restaurant gift card would be appreciated - particularly if they deliver!

  • Grab store-bought food. Don't feel bad! Most new parents forget to eat anything, so don't hesitate to grab a lasagna from the Fresh Market or, as one sweet couple did for us, bring over favorite Chick-fil-A combos for the family. It's the thought that counts, not the complexity of your generations-old casserole recipe.

  • Send hand-written notes of love and encouragement. Checking the mail is always a treat when sweet cards are there to greet you.

  • Reach out regularly, long past the first week home. Another new mom would text me occasionally with messages like, "Encouragement for today: You WILL sleep again!" or "You're already doing a wonderful job." They made good days better and tough days more manageable.

  • Be sappy if it strikes you! My dad is not a gushing, emotional type; he leaves that to my mom and to me. The first month Mac was home, though, he finished an ordinary email with: "I'm very proud of you." I couldn't read anything else he wrote. It was just what I needed to know.

    If you're proud, thrilled, or even in awe of a newborn's sweetness - say it. Everyone wants to know they're loved, that others recognize the utter perfection of their child, and that their hard work isn't going unnoticed.

  • Clean. If you're a close enough friend or family member, come over and chat while you sweep. Even better, let mom nap while you sweep, wipe down counters or fold laundry. That's a gift that keeps on giving.

  • Mow that lawn! Men may not feel comfortable cleaning or casseroling (that's not a real thing), but if your next door neighbors have a new baby or are just plain under the weather, he could ride that John Deere over your invisible property line and mow their lawn too. I'm certain that would be appreciated.

  • Chick-fil-A sweet tea. My grandmother and aunt came to visit and, after eating lunch with us, left me with a delicious gallon of CFA sweet tea. I don't know why that meant so very much, but it made the next few days delightful! This could just be me, though.

  • Offer your time. Could you come over for an hour on a Saturday so mom can nap? Or grocery shop for the family? Or she and dad can talk over coffee like real adults? Just a moment without someone attached to you could feel fantastic to a new mom.

  • Want to check one more thing off of her to do list before you leave? Look her in the eyes and say, "Do NOT write me a thank you note for this. Please." Bingo.

    What am I missing?

Inexplicable, Egregious Fads from my Childhood

I happened upon a gallery of my generation's most egregious (and inexplicable) fashion fads. Step into your time machine as we remember....

Jellies: Who didn't own a rainbow of these gems? Sparkly little plastic sandals that left you with basket-weave imprints after a day of play - plus sweaty feet.

Slap bracelets: Not sure what genius thought of these lovely accessories, but I am certain they've retired in the islands by now. A cheap, animal print or eye-gougingly bright neon bracelet that makes an obnoxious sound throughout the school day? Our school banned them because (allegedly) the metal inside could poke through the delightfully patterned exterior and slit your wrists.

Scrunchies: My preferred scrunchie-buying spot was the Limited Too. I made sure the patterns I purchased coordinated with my red and teal denim shorts and classic LTD TOO t-shirts. It was essential to wear a scrunchie on your wrist at all times, just in case of a hair emergency. Woe to those who left their scrunchies at home, though! Can't imagine what the disaster that could have led to.

Charm necklaces: I don't recall ever wearing one, but I do recognize many of the charms on this picture. Love the tiny plastic harmonica and bright purple miniature tennis racket. Did you collect or trade these with friends? I tended to stick to the next item on our list.

Friendship Bracelets: The ultimate token of friendship! We all spent many hours perfecting our personal pattern (mine was more of a multi-colored V-shaped stripe) and buying spools of thread galore. Weeks later, our expressions of undyling love were knotted and tatty - but surely the sentiment remained. Juicy Couture makes a grown-up, higher-end version if you're into paying $40 for what we traded for free in the '90s.

T-Shirt and Banana Clips: Though my hair was too long to rock a banana clip, I did sport t-shirt clips in many shapes - heart, star, circle, sparkly square. Thankfully I had the pre-adolescent hips to go with it. These days, we pay to have our shirts longer; who would ever clip it up? Think long and lean, ladies...
Jelly/Gummy Bracelets: I believe these came after we stopped wearing jellies on our feet. I had an armful in bright, neon colors to coordinate with the slouchy socks I stacked two-high on each skinny little ankle. A girl in the gym nursery today was wearing 27(!) similar bracelets; I'm now old enough to see a trend come back into fashion!! Apparently they're now called Silly Bandz. Again, Juicy Couture makes a version of this for the fashionable pre-kindergartener.

The gallery mentions a few other trends: stick-on earrings, Debbie Gibson hats (never wore these but did have the Electric Youth perfume), Hypercolor shirts, Clueless-style baby backpacks, Zinka colored sunblock and chokers. I wore chokers right up until the Y-necklaces came into fashion. I'm I thought I looked lovely!

Also big in South Carolina were Umbros, Swatch watches, Keds, leather bomber jackets (with the silk map lining!) and Duck Head shorts and shirts. (I had one that had "Duck Head" on the front and "Duck Tail" on the back. Loved wearing it with my teal Duck Head shorts! Must have had a thing for that color.)

What were your favorite 90s trends? Are you cringing right along with me as you remember these?

July 14, 2010

What I Needed to Know

Nine months ago, I went to the doctor at 38 weeks and 2 days pregnant; eight hours later, we were holding our son.

Yesterday my dear friend Kristen went to her own doctor's appointment at 38 weeks and 2 days along. Eight hours later, she and Charles were holding their son.

As you can imagine, I spent most of Tuesday glued to my phone, waiting for texts and calls - any news about our sweet friends and their boy. The rest of the day, I marveled at Mac and had flashbacks to the day he was born.

With so many of our friends having babies these days (have you met Brooke's twins?), I think often of what I wish I'd known as we brought Mac home. More often than not, someone had told me just what I needed to hear; I simply couldn't understand it until I'd lived through it myself.

A few tidbits I wish I'd fully understood:

  • Babies cry. Even if they're fed, loved, diapered, bathed and comfortable. They can't talk, smile, laugh, or even move very much. It's a form of exercise and expression for them, one that wreaks havoc in the heart of every new parent.

    It's not a personal reflection on your abilities, your care, or even on you as a mom. Certainly it's important to ensure that all of their needs are met when they cry, but do know that there will be times nothing seems to make it better. And that's ok.

    A crib or a bassinet is a quiet, safe place for baby to be when you need just a moment's break from the "why can't I make this newborn happy right now?!?" game.
  • Nursing is hard - but you can do it. It seems like the nursing "thing" should come quite naturally, but that isn't always the case. The unbelievable lactation consultants here (and their helpline) got me through the early, very tough weeks. Find someone to help you; reach out to other moms, go online for support and don't give up until you're ready.

    There have been ups and downs, but pushing through the (difficult) beginning got me to the much easier part - the one everyone said would come. I wouldn't say it was a cakewalk right away, but a month after Mac was born it was a much easier task for sure.

    The first week, when I was tearing up in my closet on the phone with a lactation consultant I'd never met, hoping none of our visitors heard me talking about my nursing, um, roadblocks? Wow. That felt like the longest week of my life. Why couldn't I make things work?

    The best promise anyone made me? "This will all be better in 72 hours. Count on it. You can call me directly if it isn't." She was right! We're still nursing nine months later, something I attribute greatly to the remarkable women who encouraged me in the early weeks.

    Do what you can, don't beat yourself up about anything and understand that any effort you make is a great thing. I hate when women say they "only" nursed for four weeks or six weeks or what have you. Multiply eight or nine daily feedings by those 28 or 42 days and you're looking at someone who fed her child hundreds of times that first month. Be proud!
  • You'll be exhausted - but you'll be ok. The week after we brought Mac home, I was beyond exhausted. I was sleep-deprived to the point that I understood how people could use a "criminally insane" defense. It's possible to be that tired. There were no extra brain cells to devote to anything but the absolute essentials - and showering, my friends, is not always an essential.

    I need eight and a half hours of sleep a night to feel human, so two and a half hour stretches throughout the night were not cutting it. Quickly, though, my body adjusted. God gave me bursts of energy I couldn't explain, considering how little I was eating, drinking and taking care of myself.

    Suddenly, the rare four hour stretches felt like a luxury. I appreciated every last second of sleep and remained imminently grateful that Mac was a "feed me then let me go back to bed" baby in the wee hours. He needed milk, but he wanted sleep, too. Our nighttime routine was no-muss, no-fuss. Feed, change, swaddle, sleep. Wait three hours, rinse and repeat.

    It's exhausting even to type out now, as Mac sleeps nearly 12 hours a night. Somehow, though, we are wired to get through it. It won't last forever. That's a promise.
  • Seriously. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Ah yes, the quintessential advice I absolutely ignored throughout my pregnancy. There's a reason it's the first thing out of every shower guest's mouth: it's true.

    I never mastered the art of catnapping while Mac slept; I was too "busy" doing other things until right as he began to stir. Then the realization washed over me: nothing I've been doing was more important than sleep. (This cycle repeated itself multiple times daily throughout my maternity leave.)

    That being said, there are moments when sleep can take a backseat. The night Mac was born, B and I stayed awake just marveling at him after our families left, examining his tiny hands and feet, kissing his sweet cheeks 'til the sun came up.

    When my mom came to stay with us days later, she urged me to nap while Mac was content and didn't need to eat. I couldn't tear myself away, though; his nose was so darling I just wanted to kiss it a thousand times. I'm glad I did.

    Bottom line: The house can wait, but sleep won't. Newborns, however, won't always be this tiny and sweet. Kissing them can take top billing on occasion.
  • You were meant to be this baby's mom. In moments (late evening, usually, when newborn Mac settled into an unhappy spell) when I felt discouraged and even questioned if I was the best girl for the job, this thought carried me through. A friend gave me A Mom After God's Own Heart and it reminded me that I was blessed with Mac for a reason. God meant for me to raise this child. He had faith that I could do it; why didn't I?
  • This is only a moment. More than new mom advice, this is a constant "must know" concept for me. As Solomon said, this too shall pass. Whatever it is, good or bad, these days go by quickly.

    The exhaustion fades, the itty-bitty outfits are packed away, the swaddling blanket is no longer necessary. The tough times are exceedingly difficult to remember and the newness of that time seems far away. It is just a moment. Enjoy every bit of it you can.

    Don't feel bad if not every moment is meant for Hallmark cards, though! I used to wonder if I was crazy not to understand the "cherish these precious times" comments I'd hear the first few weeks. (Mom says I told her I wanted to kick someone in the leg if I heard that again! I may or may not believe that's accurate....)

    Precious times? I was unshowered, underfed, sleep-deprived and totally clueless! Now, though, I see that it was a singularly sweet time in our lives... We won't ever get it back.

    When your newborn coos and nestles into your neck for a nap, enjoy it; it's only for a moment. By the same token, when colic kicks in and you wonder how much more you can take, remember that, in the scheme of your life, this is just a tiny moment.
A few honorable mention tidbits:
  • It's ok to say "no, thank you" to company if you just can't handle it. Your sanity is top priority and everyone will understand!
  • Don't clean your house before visitors come over. Stash dirty diapers if you must, but only do the bare minimum. Guests will feel bad if you do an ounce more; their goal is to drop off food and meet the baby, not judge your housekeeping skills. And they're there because they love you - bags under your eyes, dust bunnies and all.
  • Books can be helpful and doctors can be godsends, but you know your baby better than anyone. No one else has ever had this baby, which makes you the expert. Trust your instincts!
  • Ask for help when you need it. Ask for help before you need it. And certainly accept help when it's offered.
  • If no one is calling or coming by, it's because they want to give you space and let you settle in. If you need a hand or an ear or a shoulder, reach out! Day or night, people want to help.
  • Celebrate small victories if you're staring down a big (sleepless) battle.
  • Change your game plan day by day if you need to. You're in survival mode; do what works best today. Tomorrow will figure itself out.
  • It's ok to begin and end the day in your pajama pants if it gets you a little extra rest time!
What I wish now, on the other side of Mac's newborn days, is that I could remember what I found most helpful as a new mom. What did friends and family do that made my days (and long nights) easier? I'm working on a post for tomorrow, just so I can brainstorm ways to love on my new mom friends from afar.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts, new moms, aunts, grandmothers and friends! What advice did you need to hear? What was the best thing anyone did to care for your new family?

Not So Wordless Wynn's Day

In honor of my beautiful friend Kristen and her son Wynn, born yesterday afternoon in Sarasota, Florida, Wordless Wednesday is moved aside for Wynn's Day.

Can't wait to share more pictures with you - so far we know he's tiny, blonde and absolutely perfect. (As precious as his parents are, he was bound to be!)

For now, a flashback to newly pregnant Kristen snuggling with baby Mac last Thanksgiving. She was born to be a mama; Wynn is a lucky man.

Welcome to the world, Charles Edwin Watson, III! We've been waiting for you. xoxo

July 12, 2010

Nine Months

On Sunday the 5th, our little Mac turned nine months old. The week was so filled with fever, Boogie Wipes and doctor visits that I had little time to let it sink in.

Nine months. We've now carried Mac in our arms longer than I carried him in my (very round) belly. As he grows, the months slip away so quickly; I look at him now and wonder if I'd even recognize the newborn we brought home.

These days we have the ultimate measuring stick for time: our baby. Each week brings a milestone - new expressions, words, movements, experiences. I no longer have to check a calendar to see time passing; I can see it in my Mac.

After a few hours away, I arrived home last Thursday to really see Mac for the first time in a while. I caught a glimpse of his face and it looked like a preview of Mac in preschool, of the young boy our baby will soon become. It's heartbreaking - but such a blessing to watch. He's a little baby no more. But he's still my baby!

B and I have seen more changes in the last month than ever before. Mac's personality has come out more and more each day - probably because he's developing a sense of independence that lets him explore the world, or our corner of it, a little more each day.

This past month's highlights:
  • Crawling!! After months of rolling and scooting, he officially crawled.
  • Waving. He's been practicing for a while, but now he's mastered it.
  • Waving and "hey!" together. Bradley's very first Father's Day gift was Mac waving, saying, "Hey, dada!" and touching his hands to B's face. I nearly died of happiness.
  • A multitude of ticklish spots. He's always been ticklish, but these days it's hard to touch our boy without making him giggle.
  • Loving on Blue. After months of admiring him from afar, Mac used this month to get to know his "doggie." Cue the overzealous ear grab and a whimpering lab. In the match-up of infant to 80-pound dog, our little guy was the winner.
  • "Walking." Mac loves to have you hold his hand while he takes a few "steps" of his own.
  • All-terrain crawling. Little man lets nothing get in his way. Dad perched on the couch between you and that much-loved remote control? No problem - shimmy, crawl, nosedive and scoot right over him.
  • Appetite. Our (long and lean) boy's appetite grew by leaps and bounds this past month. He consistently eats over a pound of baby food at each meal - not counting milk and rice cereal. The metabolism on this one doesn't come from me, I assure you. The appetite might! He'll eat whatever food you put in front of him - vegetable, fruit, meat, you name it - as long as the consistency is right. This leads us to the next development...
  • Exceptional gag reflex. I'll spare you the details of this one, but please believe it is a remarkable skill.
  • Get-into-everything-ness. If there's a long-forgotten cord of any size within ten feet of Mac, he'll find it. There's a gravitational pull of some kind between cords and his mouth. Actually, between anything he shouldn't have and his mouth. (I'm guessing I'll read this in a few months and laugh at how much more "into" things he's going to get!)
  • Cuteness. The talking, giggling, crawling, growing and curiosity all add up to one really, really ridiculously good looking baby. Even Zoolander would agree.
Mac, you are a joy to be around. You're learning and growing and changing every day. We love that each day is new and different. We love love love you, big boy.

July 8, 2010

Tears on a Treadmill: Take Two

All evidence to the contrary, I don't often cry at music videos - even sappy ones. And, while my complete inability to run long distances has brought me to tears in the past, I rarely ever boohoo at the gym, in full view of strangers.

Yet here I am, acknowledging my second bout of tears on a treadmill. Perhaps I should avoid CMT while I'm running* from now on?

Side note: My ballet teacher told me in grad school that the only time a woman should run is if she is being chased by a bear. I stand behind this statement. My lower half, however, appreciates a little cardio now and then. If you're wondering why I took dance in grad school, ask my co-ballerina Kristen. Then ignore the other stories she tells you about me in tights.)

I'd heard that "The House That Built Me" was Miranda Lambert's best song yet, but hadn't seen the video until I was halfway through a workout last week.

I was plugging along quite nicely when Miranda crooned:
"And I bet you didn't know: Under that live oak, my favorite dog is buried in the yard."
(1:10 mark)

In an instant, that line had me misty-eyed. Then she followed up with this gem:

"Mama cut out pictures of houses for years from Better Homes and Garden magazine. Plans were drawn and concrete poured. Nail by nail and board by board, Daddy gave life to Mama's dream."
(2:00 mark)

Thank heavens the man next to me was engrossed in his baseball game! Home renovations must be a soft spot for me, because there was more than a little chin quivering going on...

What could possibly explain such a public lapse of any emotional control? No, I'm not sleep-deprived, underfed, pregnant or on drugs. (Odd that those things might have similar symptoms.)

Have you seen this video? Would you indulge me with a, "Yes, I find those lines a touch sentimental, too?"

*read: attempting to run, moving my feet, making a valiant effort to burn a few calories

July 7, 2010

In Other News...

I'm still here, I promise!! I hope to be back tomorrow to chat and show you pictures of our sweet little CRAWLER.

Sadly, he's under the weather right now with the worst (and only...) fever he's ever had. It hit 103.5 degrees today and it might be hurting me more than him. His nine-month "well" check tomorrow morning will be a sick visit after all. Praying for good news otherwise!

Also, Mac's mama cut six inches off of her hair. Things are a little slow at the Smith household this summer, so this is BIG news. By far the shortest haircut I've had in recent history...

Pictures (and hopefully a crawling video!) to come. Hope you had a wonderful 4th and a nice, slow start to your week!

P.S. The pedicure was FABULOUS.

July 2, 2010

A Tale of Ten Toes

Blue's last weekend as our only baby

I adore a pedicure - always have. Nothing makes me feel as pampered or prepared for anything, whatever the season. Since I first got the pedi-bug (didn't intend for that to sound like a communicable disease), I've made a visit once each month during the summer and maybe every 6 or 8 weeks after sandal season ends.

Even padding around barefoot, there's something special about gazing down at glossy, polished toes. I love the ritual of picking out a color and a magazine, then sitting empty-headed reading celebrity gossip while the massage chair kneads your shoulders and someone works miracles on your feet. Mix in warm towels and a foot massage and it becomes a treat too delicious to describe.

My last pedicure was on Saturday, October 3, 2009, two days before I had Mac. I sweet-talked Bradley into letting me off of bedrest for an hour and couldn't have been giddier. It wasn't a typical pedicure for a few unavoidable reasons.

I wouldn't turn on the massage chair because I thought it might jostle the baby. I couldn't read a magazine because my stomach was too big to read over and, if I propped my arms on my belly, the words were too close to my face. The girl giving me a pedicure found this quite amusing, so I just closed my eyes and focused on the pampering.

When I returned to our sofa, Blue cuddled up with me to enjoy the view. (That's the picture above, when he was our only baby.) Shortly after, I felt my first contractions.

That Monday, my outing paid for itself in the countless compliments from our nurses on my polished fingers and toes. I might have been swollen and uncomfortable, but my feet looked fabulous in the labor and delivery room! I'd recommend a pre-baby pedicure to any mom-to-be. Post-baby pedicures? I'm a little behind on that front.

On maternity leave, I was nursing Mac frequently and too concerned about salon fumes to venture in. Once I returned to work, I was way too busy to set aside an hour for a "frivolous" outing. Now that I'm home, juggling full-time momhood with business pursuits, I'm just as busy and even less able to justify "me" time.

These ten toes are in shock at having been away from the salon this long. While I do my best to keep them polished and pretty, I just don't have the finesse of the professionals.

So today, putting aside all excuses and leaving Mac with B, I am getting a pedicure. Let's hope this is my last nine month absence from the swirling foot baths just up the road!

A friend told me years ago that my whirlwind of spray tans, manicures, pedicures, eyebrow waxing, shopping trips and hair cuts would slow down significantly once I had kids. I'd just have other priorities, she said. I rolled my eyes at her.

She was right, though; I do have other priorities. But for an hour this afternoon, my priority is me - and these ten neglected toes. Blue will be thrilled when his favorite pillow returns home sporting a fresh coat of polish.

Pass the OPI!

July 1, 2010

Day of Blogging Silence for Cohen

Today Megan and Brent will hold Cohen’s memorial service; we send them all of our love and prayers. Click here to learn how you can reach out to his family.


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