Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Holy Smokes, Happy 10 Months, C! {Because Curse Words Aren't Appropo for Post Titles..}

Because turning 10 months old must be like having a quarter-life crisis. Only smaller.

Ten months. Three hundred and three days. Some days? It feels like just yesterday I was being wheeled into OR number 1, counting down the minutes until we'd hear your sweet cry. Other days? It feels like you've been a part of our family since before we can remember. Truly, a perfect fit. Happy Ten Months, Carter-ito. What a ten months it's been! What have you been up to this month?

We took you to see the pedi for your 9 month well visit at 9.5 months old. At that time, you were weighing in at the 67th percentile for weight at 22lbs and totally off the charts for height at 32 inches. The pedi said you're the size of an average 18-24month old. No big deal.

You're still wearing a size 4 diaper during the day and a size 5 overnight. As soon as we finish the 160-something size 4's in your closet, we'll be moving you on up to the size 5's. Sorry kid, but diapers are expensive these days! 

You're rocking a size 5 shoe and I think it's time to invest in a pair of sturdy walking sneaks. Part of me feels like if I don't buy you proper walking shoes, maybe you'll just stay my little cruising baby forever. Right

You're comfortably wearing 18month T's and 12month shorts and pants. John-johns, rompers, bubbles and other one-piece jams fit you perfect in 18month sizes. Your "big boy" two piece jammies are also 18month size and there have been a few mornings when you've woken up without your pants on. You are your father's son, that's for sure

You are an absolute bottomless pit when it comes to chowing down. Your tenth month has brought you to new horizons on the food front- 75% of your solids meals are now table food and boy, you love your food. Oatmeal with cinnamon and fruit, scrambled eggs with cheese, veggie burgers with a dash of ketchup, chunks of cheese and every kind of fruit under the sun.  You even nom'd on pasta and some delish Indian cuisine while out on a lunch date with one of your many girlfriends. You didn't bat an eye when munching on some Chicken Tikka Masala and turmeric soaked rice and very loudly asked for more.

You're still drinking 3 8oz bottles of formula during the day and have started taking a cup of whole milk in your sippy with lunch. You snack on plenty of puffs and yogurt melts throughout the day with sippies full of water and a squeeze of lemon. You also love a sippy filled with half-water and half-apple juice. You also love your cheese. Nobody better mess when you're sitting down to a tray full of cheddar. You are SO your Mama's child, babe

You can officially say three words this month! You say "Mama" all the time and especially when you want something. When you're hungry, when you want "down," when you're in your crib and want out, it's nothing but "Ma-ma, Ma-ma, Ma-ma." You say "Dada," but I'm not quite sure you've actually linked it to Daddy and your newest word? "Hi!" All. the. time. You say "hi" to Sheepie and you love to say "hi" to all the strangers at the grocery store. You're such a little social ham, it kills me! 50% of the time, you'll even include a wave. 

Although you haven't taken any solo steps yet, I know they're right around the corner. You cruise from couch to ottoman to Sheepie to toy like it's your job and you've mastered standing and sitting without holding onto to anything. Of course you like to practice this new trick the most when you're in the bathtub. You love walking all over the house holding onto Mama or Daddy's hands. 

You love to climb the stairs. All 14 of them. At mach speed

You started taking showers with Mama during the day this month and love sitting beneath the stream of water, sometimes with your mouth open. Strange, indeed. As soon as you hear the water turn on, you crawl your little nakey hiney directly to the nearest tub and try to climb in. 

You attended your second wedding this month, this time for Auntie Colleen in South Jersey. You were ridiculously well-behaved and got the chance to meet a lot of Mama's old work friends. Everyone loved you to pieces and you especially loved the cheesecake. 

The only time you'll give anyone kisses, usually just your Mama, is when you're absolutely exhausted and ready for either a nap or sleep. You'll lean your face in ever so slowly and plant your drooly open mouth right on Mama's and say "Maaahh." You're such a silly little man, Carter, but Mama just eats it up. 

One of our favorite things to do this month is to go on play dates with a couple of Mommy's friends and their little girls from Stroller.Strides. Mama really likes these play dates because this means we can sneak in a late afternoon nap, something you don't usually take! OK, let's be honest. Mama really likes these play dates because it gives her some company to share an afternoon glass of wine {or Mike's Hard Lemonade?} with. No judgies.

You love your Sophie, zooming around the house in your walker, your stackable rings, your plastic baby pool and knocking down stacks of wooden blocks. You LOVE "talking" on the cell phone to Gammie and Poppy and your face lights up whenever you hear their voice on the phone. 

One of your favorite games to play is to empty any and all plastic bins and boxes full of your toys and one-by-one, pick up all your toys and put them back in the basket or bin where they came from. Hopefully you keep this penchant for tidying up!

You also love to help Mama and Daddy empty and load the dishwasher. And by "help?" I mean you like to crawl up onto the door and sit there, emptying out every single piece of silverware onto the floor. 

No new teeth this month- still hanging onto the original four! 

Happy Ten Months, Carter-ito. Your Daddy and I love you to bits and pieces and there's nothing in this life that brings us greater happiness than watching you grow! 

Onward to one! Let the crazy party prep continue... 

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Friday, May 27, 2011

It's NOT That Kind of Grocery Store.. I Don't Think?

Titillating chips. Now, what aisle do you think they're in? 
Sorry Husband, they were all out. Maybe next time. 

Damn you, auto correct.
Have a happy and safe Memorial Day Weekend, Loyals!  

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Happy Snark Day. Er, I Mean Thursday.

I don't know whether I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning or if somebody peed in my Wheaties. Regardless, I woke up full of snark today and this here is all that I got. 

1. Husband, after telling me repeatedly for weeks that you've been researching hotels and hot spots on St. Kitts and Nevis for our upcoming vacation, do not suddenly turn to me while laying in bed last night and ask if I'd rather go to Disney. Despite the fact that we now have a child, we will not be taking a trip to Disney until he is old enough to ask to go. And recite the 50 states. In alphabetical order. Maybe even with state capitals

2. I love me some Polyvore. Although I have no interest in using it, I especially love when this blogger posts her ingenious ensembles. Not only does she cover clothes, but she completes the head to toe look with accessories, makeup and nail polish. Most importantly? It's all affordable. If you're going to use Polyvore and spark my interest with your amazing creations, do not, I repeat, do not, fill your design board with not a single item costing less than $200. Get over it. Money doesn't grow on trees and I don't have $299 to spend on that gorgeous tunic to wear to Ocean City Maryland with my 10 month old slobbery son. 

3. If you're reading this and you have a blog and you have enabled Word Verification, stop reading immediately, check your settings and turn it off. Chances are, I love your blog and have tried to comment over a dozen times but have given up when confronted with having to type words like "jigynrt" and "hbgrrequlvent" over and over and over again. 

4. I really want feather extensions. I can't decide if this makes me crazy or awesome. I have an upcoming hair appointment at a salon that uses them but do feather extenstions really go with JCrew? I feel like I could be a walking contradiction. 

5. Oh and seriously? If someone, somewhere, doesn't hurry up and figure out a way to decimate the Stinkbug population that is overtaking the Eastern Seaboard, I'm going to lose my shit. After counting 15 of them huddled around the french doors in our basement, I vowed never to walk down there again. Which really sucks because our laundry room is down there. Oh well

On a brighter note? So You Think You Can Dance starts up again tonight. You'd better watch. 

Happy Snark Day, Loyals! Are you feeling snarky today? Go ahead, let it all out... 

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wee One Wednesday: Man-Ties and an Idea From A Fellow Blogger

I love when you guys see things on the internet and in real life and think of me. It totally gives me this warm, squishy feeling inside. I've gotten handfuls of emails lately from readers with crazy crafting suggestions for C's first Birthday after I posted C's balloon wreath earlier this week. I've even received some suggestions as to which bathing suits Baby C should rock on the beach this year. Not only am I amazed that you all think I'm skilled enough to pull some off these ideas off, but I just love hearing from you guys. As my southern bloggy friends would say, "Bless your hearts!"

Yesterday, Jenn tweeted me this adorable picture of a boy wearing a tie, saying that she "needed me to do this with Baby C." Done and done. After deciding whether or not I would need a baby tie or a man-tie, I set about to capturing Baby C in a tie. 

Jenn, I love ya, but I don't think that baby in the picture you shared was mobile. Or if he was? He was heavily drugged so that he wouldn't crawl all over the place. Once I nailed down the lighting, I snapped away. And away. And away. And then I decided to take C's diaper off to mirror the image Jenn sent me. Carter peed on the floor. And the pictures I captured? Let's just say I have more pictures of his nakey hiney crawling away from me than I do of his adorable tie-wearing face. 

So? Here you go, Jenn. Hopefully I satisfied your Baby-C-in-a-Tie craving.

So, any other ideas out there? 
Any props you'd like to send me or Carter? 
Just name it and well.. I'll do it, apparently. 
Thanks, Jenn, for the inspiration for this week's Wee One Wednesday!
Happy Wednesday, Loyals!

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Would Make Out With Matt AND Jennifer. Simultaneously. No, Really.

I don't even know where to start. Do I start with my weakness for emo boys who play guitar? Or my soft spot for beautiful southern girls with killer pipes and great hair? Okay, let's be honest. Emo boys who play guitar win that round hands down.
I have been a major fan of Matt Nathanson since my freshman year of college. Mind you, that was nearly ten years ago, but if you take away anything from today's post, PLEASE download a few of his songs. You won't regret it. Here's the video of Matt's track, "Car Crash," one of Carter's favorite songs. No, really. It was the one song I played over and over to The Belly while pregnant. Today? He rocks out to it.
Yes, he's a little on the short side, but he's gotMcDreamy hair, a beautiful scruffy face and an amazing voice which in my book? Totally makes up for the lack of height. He's got the kind of folky-voice that made for the perfect accompaniment to those up-all-night study sesh's back in nursing school. Okay, okay since we're being brutally honest here, his songs have also graced one or two {or three.. or four..} "make out playlists" back in the day. Don't laugh, I know you have one or two of those, too. I may or may not still use mine.
Thanks to my most favorite Aunt-in-Law ever, I had the opportunity not only to see my boy Matty live this past weekend, but Sugarland as well. And if you didn't follow my incessant tweeting throughout the concert, then let me just tell you IT WAS THE BEST CONCERT I'VE EVER SEEN. And believe me, I've seen a lot of concerts. Bon Jovi, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Dave Matthews Band, O.A.R, Toby Keith, Rascall Flats, just to name a few.
A-mazing. My boy Matty was spot on. You know when an artist sounds nothing like his records? Well, Matt sounded identical. Actually, even better. As part of Sugarland's opening act, he only played a set of four or five songs but I was screaming like a little girl when he came back out later in the show to sing a few more songs with Jennifer Nettles.
Double swoon.

Speaking of Jennifer Nettles, this girl is just so damn cute. Shaking her little butt, singing her little heart out, rocking out in the most badass way that only female country singers know how to do.

I fell in love with Sugarland the first time I had seen them open for a Kenny Chesney concert a few years back. I remember frantically entering her band name into my "notes" section on my phone so that I'd remember to download a few of her songs. My love was further rekindled when she opened for Keith Urban a year later. And let me tell you, that luuuuurve is still going strong. Not only did she resurrect some of her classic songs, but she played a ton of new songs from her brand new album "The Incredible Machine." One of my absolute favorites off of this album is the song, "Tonight."

It was one of the best nights I've had in a long time. You know those nights? Perfect weather, live outdoor music, great company? Heaven.

Oh and what made the night even better? As if it could possibly get any better? Little Big Town, Sugarland and Matt Nathanson coming together at the end of the show to sing, "It's the End of the World As We Know It," you know, in celebration of the... un-rapture.

I may have little to no voice today. I may be a little sleep deprived. I may have woken up feeling like I got punched in the face. But? It was just what this Mama needed.
Happy Tuesday, Loyals!
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Monday, May 23, 2011

Birthday Party Balloon Wreath: How To

If you follow me on Twitter then you know that a certain somebody's 1st birthday preparations are heavily underway. If you don't follow me on Twitter, you should. I'm not above shameless self-promotion. Plus, you can real-live chat with me and heck, you never know what's gonna come out of the mouth of babes AP.

Seriously though, if you follow me, you know that I've been incessantly tweeting about the infamous "birthday balloon wreath." Thanks to this Mama for the idea. And the pin-pricked fingers. And the six hours of my life that I can never get back that were spent pinning deflated balloons to a floral wreath. Kidding. I love Lindsey. You know, as much as you can love someone you've never met and only read about online. Totally creepy, indeed.
Here's a link to the "tutorial" I thought I would use. As is the case with almost everything that I do, I barely followed it. The only similarities between her wreath and mine? It's a wreath and it's full of balloons. So, go ahead and look at her pretty pictures, but then come back here and follow my tutorial. It's way better. I promise.

What You'll Need:
1. A Straw Floral Wreath (Various sizes, the one I chose was 18")
2. Ribbon (1 1/2" wide spool, I used 3 different patterns)
3. Craft Pins (Size 28, 2 100ct. boxes)

Here's what "craft pins" look like, if you're anything like me and have no idea what I'm talking about. Image via HobLob.

4. Balloons

Here's where I won't lie to you and tell you, "you'll only need 200 balloons for this project!" Like, ahem, some tutorial I know that did. How many balloons did I use? 600. Okay, that's a lie. I used 587 but 600 sounds much better.

I purchased 6 100ct. bags of Assorted Size Party Balloons and have only a handful of balloons left over. Lindsey brought up a good point, make sure you buy all of the balloons that you'll need (and then some) because god forbid you run out and have to drive 2 hours back to the nearest balloon store, only to find out that you purchased the last bag of said balloons and now must purchase a new, totally unmatching bag of balloons to finish this godforsaken wreath.

Here's What You'll Do:
1. Leave the plastic wrap on the straw wreath. This will cut down on the straw shedding and overall just make your life 10x easier.
2. Pin down your ribbon to the back of the wreath and begin wrapping it whatever way your little heart desires. The reason I wrapped the wreath in ribbon was so that it added a little pop of color in those rare spots where you could see beneath the balloons. You do not need to wrap the entire wreath.

3. Begin pinning your balloons. Like an uneducated balloon-pinner, I started folding the balloon in half and pinning them down 2 at a time. At this rate, I would have finished the wreath by the time Carter entered Kindergarten. Not efficient, to say the least. As I wisened up, I began folding and "stacking" the balloons on the pin, arranging them in a manner as to take up as much wreath-space as possible. Once I had 5 or 6 balloons stacked on the pin, I would then pin it to the wreath. This was MUCH easier although did allow for an increase in pricked finger-age.
Sidenote: I found it much easier to prop the wreath up and pin the balloons down that way, rather than laying the wreath flat. I'm a very visual person and this helped me see the "bigger picture," if you will.
Sidenote 2: You can be like me and carefully plan out the color "stacking." Because clearly you don't want to pin The Colors of Ireland (green, orange, white) or Mardi Gras Colors (yellow, orange, green, purple) repeatedly, although subconsciously, throughout the wreath.


 Don't forget to pin a piece of ribbon to the back of your wreath as a little hanging hook.
Keep pinning those balloons down and while you're at it, catch up on Real Housewives with a glass of Chardonnay nearby. At noon on a Monday. Eventually, your wreath will look like this:

If you're anything like me and bought scads of ribbon because you couldn't "just choose one or two colors" you can go back to Hobby Lobby and buy yet another straw wreath and pin down your ribbon creating a neat little fabric wreath to hang on the backyard gate.

Believe it or not, these wreaths aren't yet complete. I have a wooden "C" and number "1" that have been spray-painted in the garage that will eventually hang in the middle of each of these wreaths. I know, just call me "Crazy Crafty AP."

So, there you have it. Now, go gather your supplies, a glass of wine and pin balloons down until Next Tuesday. Happy Crafting, Loyals!

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Want A Sneak? Here's Our Saturday Morning Scene

While Mama folds the laundry,
Carter catches up with some of his
favorite New York Housewives.

"Mama, can you believe Kelly
is actually going to back on
a girl's trip with these crazies!
I can't wait for Morocco! Could you
put a little Pinot in here?"
Have you linked up with Kate and Eme to share your Saturday Morning Scene?
Saturday Morning Scene

Have a great weekend, Loyals!
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Friday, May 20, 2011

Happy Hour With AP and C: Pomegranate Punch

I remember coming across this cocktail recipe shortly after having Carter and all I could think was, "how delicious would this taste sitting on my deck after a long day of Mommy'ing." And friends? Let me tell you. It tastes divine. I whipped up a pitcher of Martha's Pom Punch just this week and practically sucked back the entire pitcher all by my lonesome. Needless to say, I don't recommend. Please share. As I'm sure you know by now, I've tweaked the recipe to my liking.
What You'll Need:
- 2 cups of Pomegranate juice
- 1 cup Pear nectar
- 1/4 cup Grand Marnier
- 1 bottle of sparkling wine (I used Prosecco).
- {optional} a handful of red raspberries or blueberries
- ice
What You'll Do:
- In a pitcher, combine pomegranate juice, pear nectar and Grand Marnier.
- Slowly add 1 bottle of sparkling wine.
- Serve over ice
- Garnish with fresh raspberries or blueberries.
Cheer, Loyals!
Have a fabulous weekend...
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Email. A Love Worth... Writing For?

Thank you to Yahoo! Mail for sponsoring this post about staying connected. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Back in my early days of blogging, I may have mentioned a time or two that The Husband traveled for work. It was an amazing opportunity offered to him straight out of college, highlighting his four years of hardwork and determination. An offer he would have been crazy to turn his back on.

So, after saying "yes," he boarded his first of many USAirways flights and began traveling to some of the most beautiful cities across the United States, often leaving on Sunday afternoons and returning the following Friday evening. I was a senior in college when he boarded his first USAirways flight, two years into our relationship together.

Sure, we talked on the phone and texted, but who really has time for that? Starting a new job left little time to gab, not to mention a grueling Senior Year Nursing Program at Villanova Universty. What helped us connect the most during his days on the road? Email.

We emailed daily, sometimes two, three, seventy-bajillion times. Between classes, from the computer lab in the nursing building to the makeshift office cubicle in Fort Worth, Texas or the shabby chic Marriott hotel room in New York City. What a flirt he was! I can remember to this day getting butterflies in my stomach when "this really cool guy" would add a winky-face or smiley to the signature of his emails.

AP and The Husband {pre-husband) at the Eden Roc, 2005
Did I mention traveling had it's perks?

Although being apart for so long was difficult, email helped us stay connected. Through email, we shared our days, the who-said-what's, the you're-not-gonna-believe-this's. I would take pictures of myself before heading out to the bar for the night, just so that he could see what he was missing me all dolled up and outside of scrubs.  Before we knew it, an entire year went by and the {future} Husband became my fiance.

While working nightshift at the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania, I would send email after email full of table arrangements, centerpieces, bridesmaid dresses and band selections. We practically planned our whole wedding via email and I'm so thankful to look back on those emails and see how conceeding my Husband really was. Ha. Ha.

I emailed Husband late one night telling him about the "most adorable Old English Sheepdog puppy that I've ever seen," chockfull of pictures of the pup's shaggy hair and sad pet store eyes. Before we knew it? We became a family of three and Sheepie found a home.

And we continued to email. New York City, West Palm Beach, Detroit, Michican. San Diego, California. Charleston, South Carolina. It was during his last project in South Carolina that we emailed back and forth endless baby names...

Sure, this story is to be continued.. But? Believe it or not, although miles and miles a part, email always helped us feel as we were together all along. And although our very first emails were sent from an account bearing my maiden name, I'm so thankful that my new account bears his. Who says you can't fall more in love, plan a wedding, choose a puppy and perhaps, even a baby's name via email?

... And because everyone loves a Sheepie, Even Yahoo! Thanks for, "bringing our words to life!" Yahoo! and for helping so many of us stay connected.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tips and Tricks and Advice for New Moms. ILYMTC-Style.

Tips and Tricks Tuesday
When new mommy, Meagan, asked me to contribue to her brand new link-up "Tips and Tricks from New Moms" I'll admit, I wasn't quite sure what to write about. For those of you who've been reading for a while, you know that I'm plan-obsessed {click to read what I was feeling at 38 weeks pregnant} and practically cornered Doc SilverFox into nailing down a "Plan Of Attack" when it came time to talk delivery. I wish I could have linked to the post where we actually managed to come decide on The Plan, however since The Great Blogger Malfunction of 2011, Blogger actually ate that post. A-holes.
Anyways, moving on. Carter's birth was planned. Due to circumstances beyond our control, Carter was delivered via scheduled C-section. Not only was he an exceptionally large newborn, but there was no way on God's green earth that he was fitting through my pelvis. The fact that he had wedged himself stuck sideways in my pelvis  also helped lead the charge when it came to decision-making.
Moral of the story? Do your research. Be prepared and take charge of the important discussions you need to have with your physician. I knew I didnt want to attempt a version with Carter and I also didn't want to induce labor for hours on end before "we" exhausted that option and needed to spring for a C-section, emergency or otherwise. You can read all about Carter's Birthday here.
Things might happen that are outside of your control. By all means, have a "plan" put together, but don't lose your shit when it goes to pits and you are suddenly forced to consider alternatives. Just last night I archived six or seven "Natural Birth" books that I had downloaded on my Kindle, albeit early on in my pregnancy, in anticiption of having a drug-free labor. Like I said, I wouldn't change The Plan for the world and am actually excited at the prospect of scheduling future not-yet-conceived thankyouverymuch Baby #2's birth.
No matter what delivery you anticipate having, pack lot's of dark clothes for post-baby hospital lounging. With lot's of "checks" to your girly bits regardless of the way the baby exits, the doctors and nurses will need easy access. I loved the six or seven nursing gowns that my Mom bought for me from Motherhood Maternity. Easy on, easy off.

If I can impart two take-away messages both prior to and after delivery it would be these:

Do your hair and makeup prior to delivery. For me? This was an easy task because Carter's birth was scheduled. I say this because there will be lot's of pictures taken those first few hours and you are not going to want to look all a mess. Not to mention that it may be while before your next shower. I'm just being honest.

Bring your own shampoo, body wash and facial cleansing cloths to the hospital. When you can't shower, those facial cloths are going to be your best friend. When you can shower, having your own supplies will make you feel like a million bucks.
Oh, and if you happen to go the route of a C-section, take your pain meds. Don't be a hero. You'll be a much better mother and wife if you're not biting your tongue with every cramp, ache, pull and burn. Believe me, there are a lot of them. Even as a nurse I wasn't prepared for the recovery that was to come after having major abdominal surgery.

Read here about my thoughts on being a new Mom and how it's the easiest job I've ever had. How easy, you ask? Easier than nursing school and being a Hematology/Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant nurse. I'm not kidding!
Be open to trying new things. You're not going to know what works and what doesn't work for you until you try it. For example? Baby-wearing. Who knew I'd be such a fan? Or who knew Carter would be such a fan, for that matter?
Read here about what I learned I could do as a seasoned 3-week old... Mom.
Know that chances are, whatever you're feeling or going through? You're not alone. Utilize your resources. Whether it be family, friends, doctors, nurses or even the world wide web? Use it. Read here about one of the most popular posts ILYMTC has churned out {second to my Pulled Chicken BBQ recipe!)... Formula Feeding.
Make new mom-friends. It's going to be incredibly difficult, especially if you encounter some Mom-etition. But? It's going to be worth it. I had zero mom-friends when I got pregnant. Being mom-friend-less is a terrible place to be when pregnant and it's an even worse place to be when you have a baby. Your babyless friends, although they may sympathize with you, cannot EMPATHIZE with you and believe me, that is a big difference. Make new mom-friends. Believe me. You'll need them. Venture outside of your comfort zone and find activities in your area to engage in. We started with storytime and Stroller_Strides.
Read here about how my Mission for Mom-Friends literally kicked my butt.
And finally,
You know you're a Mom when...
I hope this post offered a bit of helpful advice for some of you new mommies out there. I would have loved to go more indepth for you, but yesterday was one of those days where Carter took a topple, bit his lip, bled all over my brand new JCrew top, refused to take a nap and finally ended the day by getting his arm caught in the back of one of the kitchen chairs. I'm lucky I made it to Tuesday.
Happy Tuesday, Loyals!

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Spring Cleaning... Redneck Style.

The Husband and I live in a traditional colonial style house with quite a bit of yard in a film-like slice of suburbia. Rural suburbia. Think "Pleasantville" meets "The Wonder Years" meets "The Waltons." Our streets are lined with antique street lamps, children can be seen playing on every corner and there is rarely a street that isn't occupied by at least one or two picket fences. We actually have neighbors that bring us baked goods almost on a weekly basis and another set of neighbors that drop by multiple times throughout the summer with fresh vegetables from their backyard garden. Case in point? We love our little slice of suburbia. Except during Spring Cleaning.
Twice a year the town sends out a flyer, denoting two specific days during which residents may leave downright junk out at the curb with the promise that the town will be by to pick it up the following morning, no questions asked. Well, my friends. It's a wonder there's anything left for the town to pick up the next day. How so?
You see, parallel to our beautiful little slice of suburban paradise, lies an older neighborhood full of.. well.. let's just call them "characters." Unlike the pristine landscaped yards of our side of the 'hood, these lawns are often occupied by rusting, wheel-less pick-up trucks, discarded lawn chairs and baby doll heads. You think I'm kidding? It's on these corners where you see little red necked headed children, running barefoot through the street, swinging from a dog leash thrown over a haggard oak tree. Again, I only write what I've seen.
Last night just so happened to be the first night of what our town likes to lovingly refer to as "S-Town's Spring Cleaning!" By the time the sun dropped behind the horizon, our street was lined with plastic lawn chairs, a cracked baby pool, an ancient air conditioning unit or two, some old box fans, a few old couch cushions and our personal contribution, glass shower doors and an old plastic mailbox. And that's when we heard it...
A veritable caravan rolling in. Full of hoopties with makeshift trailers hanging haphazardly from their bumpers. Windows flanked with NASCAR stickers and decal'd MudFlap women. Bumper stickers shouting, "Git R Done" and "Diesel Smoke Makes Me Horny."
The hoots and hollers were almost unmistakable. Our redneck neighbors had arrived.
And before we knew it, they were barely coming to a stop in front of each of the houses before tossing their new found loot into the beds of their... trailers. As The Husband and I sat inside, sipping on Chardonnay and an ice cold Bud Light (hey, we don't discriminate), we listened to a few of our "neighbors" pull up alongside our curb. Immediately, one of them let out a hearty, "HELLS YEAH! THIS HERE IS THE MOTHERLOAD! Jiffy, Come check this out!"
Jiffy. Oh, that poor sweet boy. And just like that? Our shower doors and plastic mailbox were gone. You know how that saying goes...
"One man's trash is another Redneck's Treasure."
Home Sweet Home.
Happy Monday, Loyals.
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Friday, May 13, 2011

Have A Drink With Me... Friday Happy Hour With AP & C! This Week? White Peach Sangria.

One of my sweet Twitter friends {not to mention Carter's future Mother-in-Law} gave me this great idea to post my absolute favorite, must-make White Peach Sangria recipe and it got me thinking... It's no secret that I love me a good cocktail and the summer months usually spark the cocktail creativity in me.

How about we meet here on the occasional Friday for a Happy Hour? I'll continue to post the recipes of a few of my favorite drinks throughout the summer and we can pretend we're sharing a drink! Hopefully this idea doesn't sound so lame out loud because in my head? It sounded pretty darn awesome. Just play along, wouldya?

Well, before I waste any more time, you absolutely need to make this recipe. I've made it for numerous occasions in the past such as my own surprise bridal shower, an engagement party and not to mention more than one fabulous backyard BBQ.

Word to the wise: Try and prepare this cocktail at least a day in advance. It only tastes that much better once the flavors have melded a bit with the fruits and it has chilled in the fridge overnight.

What You'll Need:
- 1 bottle of white wine (some people prefer to use Reisling here as it's a super sweet dessert wine. I personally think that the Sangria pulls enough sweetness from the fruit and schnapps that a super sweet wine isn't necessary. Try a Spanish white or any fruity-toned Chardonnay.)
- 1/2 cup Peach Schnapps or Peach Brandy
- 4 sliced peaches
- 2 large sliced apples (I've always used Gala or Pink Lady)
- a couple handfuls of halved grapes
- 2 mangoes, slices and diced into cubes
- 1/2 to 1 Liter of ginger ale (adds a bit of bubbly and sparkle)
- you can always add 1/4c of sugar at the end if you prefer a sweet Sangria. I don't usually add, but again, I'm not a major fan of super sweetness.

What You'll Do:
- Pour white wine and schnapps into pitcher. Throw in cut up fruit slices.
- Taste. If you think it needs sugar, add sugar here and stir gently.
- Let sit in fridge overnight. If overnight is not a possibility, then at least let chill for 4-6 hours.
- Add ginger ale soda just before serving.

Believe me, if you think you liked my Pulled Chicken BBQ recipe, you're going to love me even more after you mix up your first pitcher for White Peach Sangria. I've never steered you wrong, have I? And I don't mess around with my cocktails..

Cheers, Loyals! Chin-Chin!  

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

All That's Missing Is The Yellow Caution Tape.

We all know that losing one's shit is a common occurence here in the M household. After the day that I had yesterday, I thought I'd share with you the following. They say that the "proof is in the pudding," although I beg to differ. I say "the proof is in the pictures."
It all started when Carter woke up at 3am and decided it was time to play. In our bed. A veritable parental jungle gym of sorts. Parents who were trying to desperately hang onto their sleep.
And it only got worse throughout the day, as Carter refused to nap, tired and crankily bumping into wall after step after wall. Crying, whining, fussing, clinging. It was just one of those days.
It culminated at the precise second that Carter decided to pull himself up on the wooden gate that we normally secure between the couch and the wall, preventing him from playing in the dog's water dish. Not only did he pull himself up on it, but he also decided he would play Tarzan and shake it violently.
The next thing I know? Both the gate and Carter are rocketing towards the hardwoods at an alarming pace. I hurdle over the dishwasher and manage to scoop C up just before colliding with the ground. Score one for Super Mom.
I also managed to get my foot caught up in the floor length curtains, entangling myself and yanking the both the curtain rod and hook straight out of the wall. C'mon. You wish you were this awesome.
Curtain rod: 1
Super Mom: 0
Here's what The Husband came home to last night. Thankfully, he came bearing both flowers and margarita mix. Now that's what I call love.

Just another day in the M house.
Happy Thursday, Loyals.
Is it Happy Hour yet?
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