Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Please Don't Break Up With Me, Okay?!

I have been a terrible blogger and it's evident in my recent hemorrhaging of followers. Okay, fine. Less hemorrhage and more of trickle since it was only two, but nonetheless, it's become evident that you, dear Loyals, don't particularly like ILYMTC when there's a certain lack of... substance. I apologize for this and will now make excuses for my scarcity.

Here's two of them. Do you forgive me?

And it's only going to get worse before it gets better. Will you bear with me? I promise I'll make it up to you. It's just.. hard. And I'm learning every day how to strike a balance between  Mommy-ing, Wife-ing, Blogging and growing my own business

A may-jah thanks goes out to all of those who've supported and encouraged me thus far! Happy Wednesday, Loyals! Please don't break up with me, okay


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Some Crayons and Paper and A Whole Lot Of Love.

Growing up, I had that Mom. You know the one. The Mom who was always The Class Mom, The Brownie Troop Leader Mom and the Mom who always had some ridiculously fun activity hiding just up her sleeve. There was never a lack of easel paper in our house. There was always newspaper and painters tape just within reach to cover up the kitchen table and an endless supply of finger paints, play-doh and every crayon color imaginable, all easily accessible to bored little hands.

I want to be that Mom. And over the weekend, with Hurricane Irene practically knocking on our back door, I figured it wasn't too early to start trying. 

So, I went out for a spell and returned with two giant rolls of easel paper and chubby toddler crayons. I raided the garage for some sort of floor cover and returned with one of those giant leaf bags. I quickly sliced that baby open using a straight-edge and began taping it down to the floor in the living room, followed by a sheet of easel paper.

At this point, I couldn't say for sure who was more excited at the prospect of coloring. 

Let's just say that Carter thoroughly enjoyed himself for about .56 seconds. Or rather, that is approximately how long he colored appropriately with the crayons. He never once tried to eat them but found great joy in throwing them all over the living room. Granted, they did make a pretty great boiinnnnnng sound as they hit the floor- but for the love. So much for coloring..

Don't be fooled- he's not gathering his crayons together so to aid in the coloring process.. He's gathering them together  as to make it easier to throw him all over the place. 

Here he is, sitting in protest. 

Although our foray into coloring only lasted a few minutes, I have to say it felt pretty darn good to get those creative wheels a' turning. And to stir up all of those childhood memories that involved a little bit of newspaper, some painter's tape and a whole lot of love. 

You'd better believe I'm framing that fine piece of artwork 
and keeping forever and ever and then some. 
Happy Tuesday, Loyals!


Monday, August 29, 2011

A Case Of The Post-Irene Cabin-Fever-Crazies

Oh, my heart. Has anyone seen my toddler? He seems to have run off and been replaced with this... this...boy. After being shut in all weekend anticipating the worst, we spent much of yesterday running off some Cabin-Fever-Crazies in the backyard. For such an awful storm, Irene sure did leave use with some fabulous weather in her wake!

And so starts a super busy week for us here in the M house. I'm gearing up for not one but two client sessions this week and will be leaving town to head home to Hometown, New Jersey to celebrate my brothers twentieth birthday. 

I swear he was just eight years old yesterday.  It just goes to show, I don't know where the time goes.

Happy Monday, Loyals! 


Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Paper Mama Photo Challenge: Favorite August Photo

Meet Aiden.

I try not to mix too much "business" with "pleasure" but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share this picture with you! I'm knee-deep in growing this teeny tiny passion photography business of mine little joys. photography and had to share. I snapped this photo while chasing Aiden and his brother around a local city park! 

Absolutely my favorite {non-Carter} August photo! Do you have a favorite August photo? If so, you should enter this week's Paper Mama Photo Challenge!


Friday, August 26, 2011

Animal Crackers and Elmo Jams.

It's come to my attention that Walmart is a lot like Target. Just with some extra Crazy thrown in. What I mean to say, is that I can't ever walk into Walmart needing to grab "just one thing." 

Take for instance Wednesday. I needed to pick up some juice. Really, that was it. And despite this known fact, I still managed to find myself walking straight down the aisles of the Baby and Children section. 

But it's a good thing I did. You see, if I didn't, I wouldn't have found these totally awesome $2 Elmo jams hanging out on an "overstock" rack in the middle of an aisle. Or the Toy Story jams, or the Puppy jams or the Dinosaur jams. Each $2. 

Now, Mama ain't above comfy $2 jams. Or photographing what a mid-morning snack looks like here in the M Household.

Animal crackers galore. 

Happy Friday, Loyals! 


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Some Days Turn Out To Be Great Days.. Especially When Photos of Ex-Boyfs Are Involved.

Some days? The dog doesn't get his breakfast until well after noon. 

Some days? I don't put a bra on until minutes before The Husband walks through the door.
Some days? C decides he's going to skip a nap all together, go down to sleep at 6pm and then party like it's 1999 between the hours of 12am and 3am. 

Some days? I don't leave the house but to walk down the driveway and check the mail. 

Some days? Lunch consists of blueberries, peas and club crackers. C's, that is. Mine is usually mint chocolate chip ice cream and a croissant.

But then? One day, albeit thanks to the Mighty Google, you type in your high school ex-boyfriend's name followed by a comma and the happenstance word "engagement," and after a bit of digging, you come across photos of a recent engagement session. 

And in these photos you see him wearing an awkwardly slim-fitting Burberry polo shirt, guido-esque Aviators and ahem, slightly gay-boy-looking flip flops. You know the kind I'm talking about.

You also notice he's gained a few pounds and can't blame it on "the baby" he had a year ago.

And did I mention that this wedding is in 3 days? Well, I hope he invited Irene

Those days? Turn out to be pretty damn good days in my book.

Happy Thursday, Loyals!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Shopping For Your Toddler Boy {or} Why C Dresses So Darn Cute.

I've received a few emails lately about where I find C's clothes and I thought I'd whip up a quick post about Shopping For Your Boy Toddler. We all know that regardless of whatever children's store you walk into, the girls' clothes outnumber the boys' clothes both in style and quantity nearly a gazillion to one. You may have also noticed that there happens to be two pant options for boys. Cargo and denim. 

I'm sorry, but I'm pretty sure my toddler doesn't need a pair of pants with seven pockets.

Every Mom is different. This is just how we do here in the M family. 

I'm not a huge fan of the cutesy dinosaur and puppy-butt craze. I think it's all fine and fabulous for itty-bitty babies, but now that C is a strapping young toddler, he doesn't need to be wearing a t-shirt that says "Champ" with a fluffy, puffy teddy bear on it. 

I'll admit, I like dressing my child like a little boy. Er, man-child. I also like him to stand out a bit, so I try to avoid really popular chain stores for major purchases. Speaking of popular chain stores...

That's where I head for most of C's staple items. Jeans, solid T's and now that we're heading into Fall, I'll definitely grab a sweater or seven for him from there. Out of all the "popular chain stores," TCP is hands down my favorite. Not only is it affordable, but I don't feel as if the clothing shrinks as much, if at all, as some of the items purchased from other stores. I'm also a major fan of their footie pajamas. Super soft, stretchy and the cutest footie jams I ever did see. 

Dinosaur and puffy-bear-butt central. King of goofy monikers like "champ," "all-star" and "mommy's little monster." Don't slay me, OK? I know that's not all that this store has to offer and that you've found some great things for your kid there. It's just not for me. However, I love their two and three and four piece jammie sets and will buy them until C goes to college. Or grows out of them, which at this rate? Will likely happen in pre-school

Cute clothes? Yes. Although, kind of overpriced if you ask me. I haven't been in this store since the beginning of summer when I somehow got suckered into buying a pair of shorts (really, really cute patchwork beach-y shorts) and two (really, really cute matchy beach-y) t-shirts for sixty-five dollars. Yes, sixty-five. Now, you'll soon learn that I'm all about dropping some dollars on C's clothes- but on patchwork shorts and two itty-bitty t-shirts that thirty other Johnny and Joeys are wearing? Oh hell no.

Are you ready? Here's where I spill C's secrets to looking damn good.

Because sometimes I like dressing C as if he's a little Swedish hippie-child. It's adorable. Sue me. The bright, bold colors. The stripes. The fabric. It's just all too cute for words.  Do it.

If you haven't checked out mini Boden for your baby or toddler boy, you are seriously missing out. Yes, it's expensive. If I tell you this ahead of time, it'll prevent serious sticker shock when you see a child's rugby shirt going for $50. But like any other shopping experience, it's all about the clearance. The coupons and the discounts. And buying "special" items for holidays and photo-ops and things like that. And hiding said "special" items from The Husband. Or simply telling him, "It's... from Old Navy!" Not like I have ever done either of those things...

I love this store. If I'm going to buy C any sort of "puppy" enhanced clothing? You darn well know it's coming from here. JandJ has a classy, prep-tastic way of adorning their clothes with animals. Crabs, sharks, elephants, puppies, they've done it all and they've done without making it look all goofy and silly and baby-ish. I've said it before and I'll say it again- it's all about the clearance racks and the outlet shopping and JandJ is no different. Roughly 60% of C's "baby" wardrobe came from here and it goes without saying that I forsee lot's of JandJ in this kid's future.

Now, it's been a long while since I've professed my love for all things JCrew on this 'ol blog. For years, it was the only place I would shop. But then I went and got knocked up and entered what I lovingly refer to as "retirement." As in, I no longer get paid for working my hiney off every day. This means I can no longer afford $50 t-shirts for myself and other ridiculously overpriced JCrew-isms. 

I must admit, I thought it would be years before C could fit into anything from Crewcuts. However, God graced me with a ginormous child who even before the age of one fit into a 2T Crewcuts T. I swear the day I put that t-shirt on C, I heard angels singing. Sure, some of their stuff is insanely overpriced for a little someone who's just going to smear themselves in grape jelly and roll around in the mud. But it's all about judiciously choosing "special" items and discounts, discounts, discounts. For example, did you know you can snag 30% off Final Sale items with coupon code "mustshop?" See? It makes all the difference. Suddenly, super cute un-affordable polo shirts are suddenly the same price as ones found at your "popular chain stores."

I was never one to shop judiciously. I never waited for sales and certainly didn't go out and scour the internet for coupon codes. It's funny how life changes. Especially when it comes to dressing your toddler boy. See? It is possible. It just requires a little bit of elbow grease, some savvy shopping smarts and a bit of patience.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a coupon code to use and an online shopping cart to umm.. fill.


Monday, August 22, 2011

M-I-C-K-E-Y... The Most Fun With A Four Dollar Shirt.

As soon as I spotted this four dollar shirt while perusing the clothing racks at Target, I knew I had to buy it. We all know C is obsessed with Mickey. I prefer to call him the Creepy Mouse With The Large White Hands And Effeminate Voice, but you say "tomato" and I say "tomahto." In retrospect, I probably should have bought one in every size. 

C and Mickey? They're tight. 

That's a picture of C "showing Mama Mickey." Whenever I would ask him to do so, he'd point and rub his belly and laugh. When I first put him in the shirt and he saw himself in the mirror? He started dancing the same way that he does when the Hot Dog Song comes on. Seriously, could my heart melt any more? 

And here's a picture of him telling me all about Mickey. I mean, he should know all about him being that Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is virtually DVR'd on just about every TV in our house. All 25 episodes that we have saved, that is. I think he would agree with me when I say, "you can never, ever have enough Mickey."

Well, it looks like we know what the theme of Birthday Number Two is going to be, eh? Oh, those eyes

Yes, C, you can have whatever you want forever and ever. 

I know, I know. Typically I try to post something with a little bit more substance on a Monday, but this weekend I had my hands full with two family mini sessions! I have to say I'm so grateful that ever since launching my little side hobby, I can't seem to put the camera down... Happy Monday! 

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Friday, August 19, 2011

True Life: I'm A Mommy Blogger.

I have a confession to make. I'm a Mommy Blogger. 

I know, I know. You're shocked. 

How did I come about this revelation? Well, it went a little something like this. I'm a Mommy. I'm a Blogger. And if A+B still equals C like it did the last time I was in a math class, then that makes me a Mommy Blogger. 

But? I swear I'm still really cool

Or if this is no longer the case, please don't say anything and let me just go on with my bad self, OK?

Back when I started this blog in December of 2008, I certainly wasn't a Mommy. I was a "seasoned" newlywed who blogged about the ridiculously hilarious and often times spastic things my husband said and the crazy nonsense my dog got into. I blogged about the time I brought an ice cold bud light to work instead of a fizzy water. I even wrote about the time a firetruck drove into my brand new Lexus that was parked innocently outside of our house

{you can click those links you know...}

Since those days, a lot has changed. I'm turning 28 in a few short weeks and I'm trying my hardest to raise a Little Gentleman, keep Sheepie from running the household and keep a happy husband all without barreling through our white wine stash. Believe me, it's not an easy feat. 

Well, barreling through our white wine stash would be. 

I blog a lot about my many (mis)adventures in parenting and I like to think that my blog has become almost synonymous with a real, honest and engaging slant on motherhood. With the occasional F word thrown in for good measure. 

I've written two letters to Carter here and here that have brought my readers to tears. The first was written the night before my scheduled C-section and the second, the night before his first birthday. 

This post was written in support of both breast and formula fed babies- but was also my attempt at breaking the chain of The Side-Eye that we Fomrula-Feeding-Mommies often get. You can practically hear "Kumbaya" in the background.

Remember when I was a Baby Food Makin' Machine? You can read all about that adventure here. 

And at just one month into my new career as Chief Household Operator and Mommy, I wrote this post about how being a Mommy is the easiest job I've ever had. 

Well, if all that doesn't make me a Mommy Blogger, then posting pictures of my very pregnant self on the internet certainly does.

There you have it. True Life: I'm a Mommy Blogger. Are you a Mommy Blogger? If so, you should really go link up with the Fabulous but Evil Tara and my favey-fave Mrs. Monologues.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Remember That Time I Locked C and Myself Out Of The House?

Oh yes, yes I do. I remember it as if it were yesterday Tuesday. If you're not catching on, I really did lock C and myself out of our house on Tuesday. For over an hour. Thankfully it was a gorgeous seventy-six degrees. Unfortunately, I was wearing my Mom Uniform and had Crazy Hair. Here's how it went down.

C and I walked out into the backyard through our french doors in the basement. The kind of french doors that have a door knob and a dead bolt lock. Let me preface this by saying that we never leave the house through the basement but had been previously running amok through the basement playroom so in truth, it was the easiest and quickest way outside for the impromptu photo sesh I was about to bust out. 

I mean, C's colors are obviously green and navy and I practically jumped at the chance to put him in long sleeves and drag him outside to play. I just couldn't pass the opportunity up. So? Out into the backyard we go. 

Snap-happy and shooting away, I'm chasing C around the backyard. He's running laps up and down the lawn and playing on the Creepy Life Size Doll House that resides in our backyard. I shouldn't need to add that it came with the house. Nor should I need to add that I have dreams of burning that sucker down on a weekly basis.   

After roughly thirty minutes passes, I decide it's time to head inside. I corral C and head towards the basement door. You know the one I'm talking about. The one with the locked doorknob. And unlocked deadbolt. What the eff. 

Okay, fine. There are, like, three other entryways into our house. Let's try the sliding door on the deck. The one that hasn't been used in a week. Nope, locked. 

Okay, let's try the garage door. The garage door that's been on the fritz and has been in both automatic and manual mode more times than I can imagine in one week. Of course it's on automatic mode. And locked. It doesn't even matter that my car is unlocked because the little garage door opener thingy that it came with needs to be reset. You know, since the Fritzy Garage Door has been all sorts of wonky lately. 

And well, despite knowing that the front door is locked because I can hear the "click" of the lock setting in as I closed the door after unloading groceries earlier that day, I trudge toward it with C on my hip. Locked. 

Fuck. No phone. No iPad. But? MyErinCondrenLifePlannerisHere! Hooray! I don't even have pens to write with in it. And my phone? Nope. Can't even take a picture of it to tweet. Awesome.

Think AP, think. Standing with C squished between my legs, I try to fix my Crazy Hair into some semblance of order so that I don't look like a complete fool when I knock on my neighbor's door asking to borrow their phone. It's bad enough that I'm wearing my Mom Uniform. 

After knocking on not one, not two, but three doors, I finally find a neighbor willing to stifle their laughter and hand over their phone. The laughter quickly resumes when Husband answers, only to my surprise it's him laughing and not the neighbor. 

"Just come home and let us in, OK?" 

And for the following thirty-five minutes, C and I are running all around our front yard eating two-week-stale car cup holder Puffs and drinking V8 Splash directly out of the giant jug that I left in my car from this morning's grocery trip. 

That Hide-A-Key that's been sitting on our kitchen counter for weeks? Well, let's just say it was promptly hidden as soon as we made it back inside. 

Happy Thursday, Loyals! 
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

C, Mommy Totally Dropped The Ball On Your 12 Month Post.

Dear Carterito, 

This has been such a busy month for you! It feels like just yesterday we were celebrating your Party Day with family and friends when in reality it was almost three whole weeks ago! The night before your birthday, I sat down to write A Letter To My One Year Old. I mushed and I gushed and I blubbered my way through your first year of life and since I brought myself and nearly all of my readers to tears, this letter is going to be less mush and gush and more about all of the awesome, amazing and fun stuff you've both learned and been up to this month. 

You surpassed everyone's expectations at your twelve month pedi visit. I can't say that we're very surprised- we've come to expect nothing but the best from you, C, since you've been ahead of the curve your entire little life. I kid, I kid. I promise we'll cut you some slack as soon as you learn all 25 Romance Languages. Deal?

You weighed in at 24.3lbs and measured 33.5inches, although I beg to differ with your height. Let's just say you're an even 34inches like when Mama measured you the day before your appointment. This puts you in the 62%ile for height and off the charts at >97%ile for height. You're the size of an average two-and-a-half year old. 

You wear a size 6 Converse and size 7 TOMS. You're in a size 6 diaper both during the day and overnight and you wear 24mo one-piece john-johns and sleepers. You're wearing 2T tops and 18mo bottoms. Basically all this means is that you're my little string bean. 

You not only walk but have taken running to a whole other level. Apparently walking is too cool for you and you must run everywhere you need to be. This alone has earned Mama several grey hairs. She can blame the rest of her grey hairs and wrinkles on your couch climbing, pillow jumping and Sheepie-scaling. 

I have to say, my favorite "trick" you learned this month is how to give hugs and kisses without being prompted. As in, you'll be running, running, running and all of a sudden you'll come running over to me or Daddy and you'll smush your head into the crook of our necks and give us sloppy open mouth kisses. When you do this, we say "Oh, Oh, Mooommyyyy." "....Daddy" and "...Sheepie." You are an equal opportunity hugger and kisser. 

You spend most of the day jabbering away with your bad self. You inflection and intonation is hilarious. It's as if you're having an all out, very serious, sometimes humorous conversation with yourself. And you talk with your hands. I wonder where you got that from...

Your vocabulary includes, "I no-no-no" (I don't know) with the hand motion, "tatt-too" (thank you), "uh-huh," "hi" and "yelloh (hello)" "byebye," "mama," "dada," "nigh-nigh," "ut (up)," "ight (light)," and "eeesh (Sheepie)."

You're drinking whole milk from a sippy throughout the day with a bottle of whole milk before bed. You are strictly on table food and have been for months. You love to feed yourself with a spoon. Or perhaps it's that you just like to make  mess. Synonymous, isn't it?

You are incredibly impatient. Daddy says you got this from me. When you don't get your way or don't get something fast enough, you stomp your little foot and yell! You've even been known to crouch down on the floor and start crying. What's that? Karma? Funny, Daddy. 

You love taking wagon rides in the evening as they've replaced our evening stroller rides. 

You are forever bringing books over to us so that we'll read to you but you rarely ever sit long enough to finish one. Two or three pages in and you're already turning to the last page. 

You nearly broke our hearts into a million pieces when you fell and busted your lip open at Beach Week this year. Although you spent much of the week looking like a prize fighter, you took your bumps and boo-boo's in stride and didn't let it get in your way of having an awesome time at the beach. I've said it before and I'll say it again. You are fearless, C. Especially when you take off shrieking and running into the ocean like it's no. big. deal. 

I have a feeling there is so much I'm forgetting- but let's just say you're turning into quite the comical, compassionate and opinionated little man. Your Daddy and I have had such fun this last month watching as you learned and discovered not just the world around you but how you interact with it, too. Busy, busy, busy.. you are a little man with a plan, Carterito. 

We love you to bits! Happy One Year, "Baby C!"
Love, Mama and Daddy

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sheepie.. Remember That Guy? Well, He's C's BFF.

Shortly before Carter was born, I felt a twinge of worry thinking about how Sullivan would respond to the new baby. As both a new parent and a dog lover owner {of a dog who is most definitely a beloved part of the family, no less}, I know I shared a common fear, knowing deep down inside that I would be absolutely heartbroken should anything happen to either one of my "babies" should they not be able to coexist peacefully in the home. 

Sure, I read the books. Friends suggested that I swaddle a baby doll and play audio clips of screaming babies so that Sullivan could get used to The Change. Did I rush out and buy a baby doll? No. Did I play YouTube clips of crying babies? Yes. Did Sullivan care? Not one bit. 

So, Carter was born and we brought home "The New Puppy" as we lovingly referred to him when talking to Sullivan. In the beginning, Sullivan was impartial. He'd casually saunter past the baby, attempt a face-lick and keep on moving. He laid at my feet while I nursed C but was never the type to sleep next to the crib or pack and play and never, ever showed any type of paternal, dominating attitude towards the baby. 

When Carter would wake up screaming, Sullivan would immediately come running to either myself or Husband and whimper nonstop until one of us attended to The New Puppy. We like to think it was the "herder" in him.

Fast forward to today. Carter and Sullivan are the best of friends and I can't help but smile and find myself getting really, really excited at the prospect of watching their friendship grow over the years. You  see, I grew up with dogs. There were very few years in my life when we didn't have a dog running around the house. As a matter of fact, I can count on one hand the number of dog-less years I've lived. 

I'm so excited for C to grow up and be able to form that special bond with his pup. The kind of bond that only crazy, mushy dog owners like myself know of.

{don't worry, i promise you he's pre-face lick and not trying to eat C's face}

C and Sheepie spend at least a total of 2 hours a day playing solely with each other. Sheepie runs around the house, stops to nudge/headbutt C so that C will chase him and off they'll go around the house, screaming, laughing and barking. 

C loves to play fetch with Sully and will throw him anything he can get his hands on- from the balls out of his ball pit to his own beloved pacis. One of C's favorite games is to empty Sheepie's toy basket while they play this silly little game of theirs. 

When it's time to move the party to the basement so that Mama can get a little writing done? Sheepie will cry and cry at the gate at the top of the basement stairs and C will whine and whine at the bottom gate until I can't take the whining and crying another second and am forced to let Sheepie down to play. They love each other. They really, really do. 

And the laughs that Sheepie can illicit from Carter? Priceless. Especially when C is crawling on all fours beneath and between Sheepie's legs. I swear, these two are the perfect pair.

Poor Sheepie. I don't quite think he knows what he's gotten himself into with mobile, fearless, daredevil C. But like a good boy should, Sheepie takes the swatting, the "be gentle's," and the incessant "Sheepie-climbing"  all in stride. 

Good boy, Sheepie. Good boy. Happy Tuesday, Loyals!

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