[Top Ten Tuesday] Last Ditch Bucket List for My Roaring Twenties

You guys, I have exactly TWO MONTHS left in my twenties.  Unlike some I am actually thrilled for my thirties (many thanks Charlotte from Revenge and Jennifer Garner) and can’t wait to see what’s in store.  But I still have 60 days and why not make a Bucket List?

This will probably be considered incredibly lame by many (I get a thrill with a 9PM bedtime after all) but hey, you can make your own bucket list and I’ll think it’s fabulous.

10.  Run 3 miles.  Laugh at the tiny number all you want.  I am NOT a runner.  My form, my patience, my feet…they’re all off.  But everyone who commits to it ends up loving it so there must be something there.  That and sometimes I’m a little jealous of Matt’s early morning runs.  It charges his day and puts him in a great mood, without fail.   A good workout in the morning does that for me as well but something is missing.

9. Sew A Pillow.  I already own a sewing machine and I have sewn before.  But I’m scared…scared of messing up or ruining fabric I love.  But something tells that if I don’t get to it, the lovely fabric I have piled up will be donated by my husband to someone who is not too scared to use it.

8. Paint. My sister and I have a Groupon for a painting class that we need to use, so this is kind of an easy one.  My mom just happens to be one of those incredibly talented people who can pretty much do whatever she wants.  “I love this photo…let me make it a painting!” ” Need a colonial costume for 1776?  I’ll take care of that!” (Yes, those happened.)  I didn’t inherit this talent but I did inherit an interest in all things constructive so hey, why not.

7. Read 3 Books. One book will be spiritual.  One book will be career development.  One book will be a classic.  None of them will be Harry Potter or Toddler 411.

6. Get the Four Generations of Howeth photo. Harry’s a super blessed babe to still have his paternal grandfather and great-grandfather living.  Our shameful confession is that with life being as hectic as it’s been, we haven’t gotten to introduce the two just yet.  Funny how a 4 hour drive seems just-that-much-further when you have a babe.

5. Buy Something Fabulous on Black Friday.  I have no idea what but it will be fabulous and most likely impractical.

4. Knit a Blanket.  Knitting I am much more comfortable with and though no expert, I could swing a blanket.  I have about 10 different patterns bookmarked so, let’s do this.

3. Finish Christmas shopping in November.  This should be on my list every year.  But this year I have a baby turning 1, me turning 30, and Matt’s birthday all in the first week of December.  I’m looking at you, Amazon, to help me make sure this one happens.

2. Create “Awkward Mommy Happy Hour.”  I like this the more and more I think about it and hear positive feedback and dernit, it’s going to happen.  Stay tuned, mommies…time to put on the clothes we don’t want to ruin with spit up, wear impractical shoes, and practice being non-awkward.

1. _________________.  Can’t decide on this last one…gonna need some thinking and some feedback.  Should it be daring and adventurous?  Should it be scary and something that pushes me out of my comfort zone?  Share any suggestions you’ve got!

There you have it.  90% of my Bucket List and only 60 days* to make it happen.

*This is me acknowledging that the completion of 50% of this list will be something to celebrate. Make it 20%.

[Mommyhood Monday] The Story of Harry, Part II

It’s not Monday, it’s Tuesday.  Busted. Grace please?

In Part I of Harry’s Story, I left off at the part where I met Matt and was quickly swooned by his acceptance of fertility question marks and his willingness to journey through God’s plan with me.

Matt and I met Christmas 2006, began dating in 2007 and grew serious later that year.  We were engaged in March of 2008 and married in February of 2009.  It was shortly after our engagement that I began taking my temperature every morning and following the charting procedures for Natural Family Planning (NFP).  Now some people assume that our decision to use NFP* was based on me being Catholic and that we entertained no other option.  Others assume we wanted babies from the start.  But the truth is that we weighed several other options and did not want to get pregnant right away.  NFP was simply the only choice we could personally move forward with clear eyes and full hearts (can’t lose, right?).

*If you want to know more about our decision to use NFP, I am happy to share.

The factors that led to our decision to delay pregnancy were the same of most newlywed couples.  After a long-distance engagement, we wanted a bit of time together.  Matt was in the thick of grad school and we were living in Vancouver, Canada for at least a couple of years.

Now I could get into the next part with great detail but I’ll keep it a little close to the cuff.  Basically, we had a very early pregnancy “scare” (that word is important) that had us all in a fuss.  “We’re not ready!  We have a timeline!  How could God do this!?”

It was that last part that stopped us in our tracks.   I mean, did you guys read Part I of this story where I had to tell Matt that I might not be able to have babies?  How far we had strayed!  Me, with my incredible perspective and questionable fertility, had allowed myself to get so wrapped up in a timeline that, for even a quick moment, I “feared” pregnancy.

We weren’t pregnant.  And though our planned timeline was safe our hearts were softened to the idea.  We continued to postpone pregnancy for the next few months.   Then I was offered a job…my dream job involving international travel and event planning and career growth to the max.  They requested that we stay in Vancouver for at least 3 years and after plenty of conversation, we agreed to those terms.  I was THISCLOSE to signing the dotted line when I casually asked about “family growth”.  Though an employer cannot legally state a preference it was said, in no uncertain terms, that they preferred for those 3 years to be uninterrupted.

So now I was staring my PCOS in the face.  If you recall from Part I, the clock works against you with PCOS and delaying another 3 years meant that 1) the timeline was being forced by us and 2) the fertility window would keep closing.  So I rescinded my verbal agreement and told them that they would be better suited finding someone else.  They pressed for more explanation and finally I told them that I couldn’t guarantee I wouldn’t get pregnant for three years.  They weren’t too happy and I’ll never forget the tone of their voice when they said, and I quote, “you are turning down a great opportunity because you want to be a mommy someday?”  Well, when you put it that way…yep.

So then, with perspective again refreshed, we began actually trying.  Six months into trying, a laughable amount of time compared to so many couples, I began to speak with a doctor about it.  He chuckled, told us to try for six more months and then we’d run tests.

In the first six months I read Dr. Marilyn Shannon’s book, “Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition.”  We received a copy in our NFP course and let me just say that if I am ever lucky enough to meet Dr. Shannon, she won’t be ready for the amount of love and giddiness I will exude. This is what got me to examine our diet and our supplements.  We cut out high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, and most processed foods.  I began taking a prenatal and we kept in shape.  We felt great but still weren’t pregnant.  So we ran the tests.

Our results showed two strikes.  Not just one for my PCOS, but one for Matt as well.  Two strikes and a less than 3% chance of ever getting pregnant.  I got a second opinion and the results were confirmed.

This time our perspective didn’t fail us.  We were tired, a bit beat down, and emotionally drained but we knew that this wasn’t a battle for us to fight.  Our hearts had been preparing for this for years.  We made the decision to move back to Texas and take a break.  No more charting, no more counting days and taking temperature.  Fertility treatments were not an option.  We just wanted to surround ourselves with family and friends back home and start to save for adoption.

So we moved back to Texas.  I was in a bit of a “mourning state” so I turned down a job, took a sabbatical, and worked for my sister as a nanny to my two nephews.

I know this is a lot of back story and that is definitely why it’s not entitled, “Harry’s BIRTH Story”.  But my intention here was also to document our journey.  Perhaps it also sheds a little bit of light on why I am Mom-arazzi with our babe…I am in a constant state of wonder that this little miracle is actually ours.  That and he’s really cute and fun.

Next Monday, Part III.  If it makes you feel better, I will commit to there only being IV parts.  Call it the “Lost” treatment…the light at the end of the storytelling tunnel is near!

Peace and Blessings friends.

Summer Awkwardness

Without any warning, I took a break this summer.  Our marriage needed some TLC, my babe always deserves my attention, and we had a lot going on.  We had a long summer – filled with the completion of a thesis(!), work, the birth of our incredibly precious and beautiful niece (our very first!), and Harry’s Baptism.

Harry’s Baptism was such a sweet occasion and he is one lucky babe to have our dear friends Melissa and Matt as his Godparents.  He rocked a bonnet and kept a good face the entire time.  Let’s face it, this kid is only unhappy if we mess with his sleep schedule or we don’t give him enough food.  He’s his father’s son.

Image

The picture above failed to capture H in his bonnet, which means you’re totally missing out.

Truth be told, this summer was a difficult one.  Harry is the happiest babe we could have ever prayed for and he is our sunshine and delight every single day.  But I’m pretty sure that with a few different factors, I managed to slip into a low place that I’m just beginning to emerge from.  A place that had me going to bed super late and sleeping less, watching way too much TV (Confession: I finished the entire series of Felicity in a little over a week…that’s EIGHTY-FOUR episodes…not proud), and being fairly anti-social.

The emotions of becoming a mom are so fascinating to me.  The biggest effect was awkwardness.  I’ve always had awkwardness as a part of my make-up but wow, it has multiplied over the past 10 months.  I can be in a room full of people I know or a room of strangers, both of which never phased me before, and I want to just run home and work on a project or finally start The West Wing (let’s face it, I’m overdue).

I hear this is not abnormal for new moms.  I joked with my sister that I should start an “Awkward Mom Happy Hour” where we just practice being sociable again.  There would be topics we are not allowed to talk about: poop, sleep patterns, milk supply, baby food, and baby milestones being on the banned list.  But, in order for that Happy Hour idea to work, I’d have to schedule another Mommy Happy Hour that focuses on that list.  If I’ve learned anything about community these past several months, it’s that all moms need other moms to discuss these pivotal child-rearing topics.  Maybe I’m not joking anymore?

So we’re back.  This little blog post is dedicated to my lovely Kate who demanded an update.  Apparently leaving Harry’s Birth Story unfinished was just plain rude. My apologies. Part II coming on Monday!

[Top Ten Tuesday] Favorite Baby Items: 1-3 Months

Oh these months.  These months are a blur.  A beautiful, joy-filled, sleep-deprived blur.

A few weeks ago I listed out the Top Ten Baby Items for 0-1 month.  With the exception of the Swaddle Pod, all of these continued to carry me through the next few months.  The following are the items that began to stand out after we got to know Harry a bit better:

Feeding Supplies – Harry didn’t drink from a bottle until he was almost 3 months old.  We were so happy I was able to breastfeed that entire time but then realized we should introduce something else soon or he might refuse when I wasn’t around.  Since then, we have never had a problem with Harry taking the Green to Grow bottles (BPA free, what what!) and I love our Boon Lawn Drying Rack.  We hand wash all of our dishes so we didn’t need a container for the dishwasher but the Munchkin Bottle Brush is, hands down, the best bottle brush out there (trust me…between my sister and myself, we tried them all).

Bouncer – There are a million different bouncers out there and, surprise surprise, I was super picky.  I’m not really all about the themes – jungles, teddy bears, etc.  Some of those are pretty cute, but I wanted something simple and classic.  I considered the Mama Roo but had trouble with the price tag, especially since we were already getting a baby swing from my sister.  I really wanted something like the Maclaren Vida Bouncer but with better reviews.  Then I came across the Combo Pod Bouncer – a bumblebee! This animal I could handle.  And I have to say, it was fantastic.  It was around this time that Harry started coming into the office with me a few mornings a week.  Between the Bee and our beloved Moby, Harry was soothed and proved himself to be an amazingly content babe.   My iPhone or iPod plugged in to play music for him and though he never took to falling asleep in it, he loved hanging out in it – especially as a change of scenery from the magical Nap Nanny.

Moby/Ergo – I allowed myself one repeat from the 0-1 month list.  It was not easy to choose – the Nap Nanny was clearly a super close second.  But baby carriers might as well have a permanent spot on my Top Ten Items lists for the first couple years.  Harry always loved the Moby and he’s finally grown into the Ergo.  It’s at the point now where it just makes more sense for me to wear him whenever we’re in public than to use a stroller.  He can look around, he’s always happy in it…he falls asleep in it more easily than the strollers and I still love wearing him.  At this stage, wearing my nephew in the Baby Bjorn started to hurt my back but from  months 1-3 and through today, I’m super comfortable in both of my carriers, as is Matt.  The entire family wins.

Burp Cloths/Bibs – Of course these are handy from the start but since Harry never really had any acid reflex or spit up of any kind, these didn’t come in useful until he discovered his fist.  Harry has drooled through his outfits and sucked oh his fingers/fist since he was around two months old.  Since then, he’s been in a perpetual state of wet/sticky and having these around is always useful.  For some reason I didn’t buy a lot of bibs for him (I do wish I had purchased as least one with his name on it…not that he cares) but the Aden + Anais Burpy Bibs are my absolute favorite. They are shaped perfectly for over the shoulder and they snap together to make an actual bib for babe.  They’re not a flimsy fabric (great absorption) and, always a bonus, they’re super cute and classy all at once.  We do have a few of the Baby Bjorn Bibs but they’re not so comfortable on a tiny babe, though I’m happy to have them as we journey into solids.

Boppy –  Contrary to popular belief, I don’t think the Boppy is the best pillow for nursing.  If I wanted something only for nursing, I would have gotten a Brest Friend pillow.  But the Boppy worked decently for nursing, more effectively as Harry grew, and I definitely made good use of it for that purpose.  The Boppy began to shine in our house when Harry needed more tummy time (NOT a fan for the first month or so) and when he was able to hold his head up.  And, truth be told, I LOVE the Boppy as a laptop desk and as a general comfort pillow for me.  It’s like a hug around my not-so-tight midsection that I like to cuddle with. Don’t be alarmed if you see me using it when Harry is 15 and any other potential babes are way past baby-hood.

Cloth Diapers – Cloth Diapering is a topic that I love so dearly, it will soon have its own Top Ten list AND Mommyhood Monday post.  We began to switch over from disposables in the 2nd and 3rd months.  I was pretty nervous about it but wow, I absolutely love it.  To be fair I need to include disposables because we definitely mixed it up, especially in the 3rd month.  Now we are 86% cloth – an exact number given that Harry only wears disposables when he is at my mom’s house on Mondays.   I could go on and on (thus the future posts) but know that 1) this ain’t your mama’s cloth diapers.  No pins required.  2) We have yet to have a blowout in a cloth diaper – only in disposables.   They have held things in that no disposable could contain.  3) They’re incredibly cute.  Proof pic:

…and that’s not even the ones he has with robots on them!  We started out with BumGenius 4.0 (almost all with snaps) and now we’ve got some Charlie Banana, FuzziBunz, Bonnibuns and Oh Katy.

Coconut Oil – Another item that deserves its’ own post.  Coconut Oil is AMAZING!  Did you ever see the videos of Tyra Banks rolling around on the floor, talking about how much she loves Vaseline?  That’s how I feel about Coconut Oil. But without the Mineral Oil (because it took me 29 years to realize that was in petroleum jelly) and without the crazy (no offense) Tyra vibe.  Cradle Cap?  Coconut Oil.  Diaper Rash…even with cloth diapers?  Coconut Oil!  I love the smell of Mustela lotions but with Matt having eczema, we decided to treat Harry’s skin early on as though he would face similar dermatological issues.  We use some Aveeno products but Coconut Oil is a great moisturizer and smells like a Pina Colada (!).  More importantly, I love that it’s the all natural route.  And it has dozens of uses in our home, for all of us.   I order ours off of Vitacost – they have sales and free shipping all the time and you can’t beat the price per ounce.

Toys – As Harry moved into the more alert stage, he began to develop QUICKLY.  In the beginning he didn’t have a preference…if he could grasp it, he loved it.  But the ones he quickly took to and still hasn’t tired of are the Lamaze toys – specifically Mortimer the Moose, Olivia the Owl, and Jacques the Peacock.  I love them, too.  (I STILL want to order Rusty the Robot for Harry but Matt asked me to exercise some self-control.)  Harry also obsessed over his Skip Hop Treetop Friends Soft Book  for a while and, of course, Sophie the Giraffe.  One item that quickly rose the ranks was the Sassy Rattlin Ring, along with the Bright Starts Rattle.  Now – in the mindset of Monica the minimalist and book lover – I’ve realized that I’m the parent who would rather buy books than toys.  Especially toys that make noise and require batteries.  There are some exceptions – and at this stage that was the Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes.  It wasn’t too loud, it had a variety of classical song lullabies and was super simple for Harry to operate.  He still loves it because the noise and lights are out of the ordinary from his other toys.  And I love it because I never had to put duct tape over the speakers or take out the batteries to maintain my sanity.

Zero Expectations – There is no Amazon link in this item.  Truth be told – I had no idea what to expect when it came to our baby.  I had no idea if he would be a sleeper or colicky or would have acid reflux or what kind of temperament he would enter the world with.  I was raised around babies and have babysat/nannied since I was 12 years old.  I am no baby expert, but I was comfortable enough with babes to know that they’re all different.  And as you may have read yesterday, I had long ago come to terms with the fact that we may never have a newborn baby of our own.  So when we found out we were pregnant, we were ready for anything.  Maybe it was just our perspective but we knew that babies don’t sleep through the night.  From nannying, I knew that sleeping through the night (pediatrician’s cruel definition of 6 hours) doesn’t typically come until the 6 month mark for an exclusively breastfed babe.  Anything earlier than that was to be celebrated (and we did!).  But we took it all in stride – we cherished every single exhausting moment.  We don’t know for certain that we’ll be able to do this newborn gig again (fertility wise) so from natural labor to nights broken up by feedings every 2 hours, our only expectation was to love this little being. The ability to do that, and everything else, has been such a blessing.

Community – Again with the something you can’t buy on Amazon.  I have an incredible group of mamas around me.  From family to friends to a Facebook group that all have babes born around the same time as Harry…having other women to talk with and process with and be able to gauge how “normal” something is blesses me greatly.  A book with advice can be very, very helpful but a book can’t listen to you vent or give you a knowing, much-needed hug.  Find parents who may not parent the exact way you do but still respect the choices you’re making.  Fellow parents you can share your learnings with and who can pass along their learnings/knowledge.  Parenting is hard – it’s much easier if you are able to enter it with a team who supports and loves you and your babe.

An item not on the list but that we’re so glad we introduced was his “lovey” (AKA security blanket/stuffed animal).  I had never heard of a “lovey”, at least not referred to that way, before I was in search of one for Harry.  But I knew I wanted him to have a best friend stuffed animal.  And yes, I’m that mom who wanted to choose it for him.  We ended up getting him the Jellycat Cordy Roy elephant for Christmas and after Harry had RSV, he was Christened as “Wheezy” (we’re cruel, but funny).  At Easter we made the lovey a duo by introducing the Jellycat Bon Bon Striped Bunny (still unnamed/not yet Christened).  Who knows if he will take to them but so far, he doesn’t sleep without them.

So that’s my personal Top Ten list of Favorite Baby Items for 1-3 months.  You?

[Mommyhood Monday] The Story of Harry, Part I

Harry’s story goes back about ten years.  Yep, ten long years.

When I was a little girl (I promise the story doesn’t stay here for very long), I wanted to be a teacher and a mommy.  When I graduated from high school, I was headed to UT Austin as an education major with a long-term boyfriend.  Almost there…?  Nope. (Phew.)

That summer, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Disease – chronic cysts on the ovaries.  Over time, PCOS can greatly lessen a woman’s chances of getting pregnant.  After several months of ultrasounds and painkillers, I was put on birth control in order to “preserve my fertility.”  Though I know this is a common practice for women on PCOS, I had no desire to be on The Pill.  My struggle was both health related and spiritual.  I didn’t like the idea of hormones being put into my body to manipulate it and more importantly, I struggled with how me taking birth control was me trying to manipulate God’s plan for me.  After about 6 months, I kicked it to the curb.

The next several years were spent trying to not think about it.  I wasn’t close to getting married, or sexually active, so I told myself to just trust in His plan.  I allowed myself to think through the options in the case of fertility struggles.

I processed through fertility treatments.  Since being a mommy starts with being pregnant, I wondered how necessary this was for me.  Of course I wanted it.  But why?  Because this was the only way to have a baby or because I had it set in my mind what being a mommy looked like?  I started to look around and though I knew it would be hard; I also took a look at the foster system in the US.  I looked at all the kids without a stable home or family unit.  I even looked at how many parents wait for a baby versus the number of older kids stuck in the foster care system.  It’s appalling.  Again, I TOTALLY understand why couples go through fertility treatments and why people wait for a baby to adopt, but I wondered if I was being called to be a mommy to those other kids, to the ones nobody else wanted.

I didn’t come to any conclusions on this, I just processed.  After all, I wasn’t close to getting married.

Then I met Matt.  Our story will come later but you must know, it isn’t easy to tell this to a guy you’re interested in.  How do you bring that up?  “I love your hair like that! Oh, FYI…I’ve been told I may not be able to have babies.  Which movie are we going to see tonight?”  It actually ended up being forced out.  See every once in a while I’d get weepy over all of it.  I may have been blessed with perspective, but not without hormones.  Every so often I would have the pains that were associated with a ruptured cyst, reminding me of it all.  One night, about a month into dating, I felt such pains and on came the emotions.  Matt was there and it all came tumbling out.  As I closed my eyes, waiting for an awkward, “oh well…that’s really upsetting”, I instead got this: “this world will not be deprived of a beautiful mom…perhaps only of beautiful babies.” Um…that was unexpected.  And wonderful.

So I married him.  Not right away, that comes later.  But I pushed the fertility thoughts out of my mind.  They were not yet relevant and my future Baby Daddy was on board for whatever God’s plan was for me, now us.

Oh and in case you’re wondering, I was a semester away from being a certified teacher before I switched majors.  Yep, I like to make a plan and then change things at the last moment.  You’ll see that happen again.

Part I ends with a photo of how Matt and I ultimately decided to handle fertility in our marriage.  More of that next Monday.

[DIY Thursday] Finding my Fabrics

Big news…I ORDERED FABRIC!!!

Yes, I’m being serious.  For my indecisive, extremely picky, and always on a bargain hunt self…this is terribly exciting.  And I was on a roll, too.  I found fabric for four projects on my list and at all at a deep discount AND with free shipping.  *patting myself on the back*

For patterned curtains in the living room:

Inspiration

  Fabric Purchased – Waverly Carino in Azura

For the upholstered headboard in our room: 

Inspired by Schue Love, modeled after Man Men (where I fell in love with the style and began my quest for one)…

Charcoal Grey Suede on Fabric.com

For the Window Cornices in Harry’s room:

Inspired by Domestic Adventure …

I ventured far from my original search for a bright fabric to this Thomas Forest Noir

For a pillow on our bed, which will transition to an all white bed with the grey suede headboard:

Magnolia Java Ikat in Barley

Yes, I caved to the ikat.  I did manage to pick one that I’ll still like when the trend is done.  But the fabric is on its’ way and I’ve even scheduled a Home Depot date with my dad to pick up supplies.  I’ve got my Joann’s coupon saved on my phone to go pick up a large amount of foam and batting tomorrow.  And, more importantly, I’m off to finish the bench that I swore to Matt would be completed before a new project enters our home.  My goal is for next DIY Thursday to cover the completion of the bench and the beginning of the headboard. Maybe we’ll just settle for the bench and call it a [huge] success.

I’m pumped.  Game on!

[Top Ten Tuesday] Movies About Babies

We love movies.  And television.  Perhaps a little bit too much.  In an effort to keep this under control, I had to go with movies that were only about babies or pregnancy, not family or parenting.  That’s an entirely different list.

Top Ten Movies About Babies:

Juno

The music.  The message.  The wit and humor.  It’s the little indy film that could.  Ellen Page portrays a pregnant high school junior and while never making it look glamorous, gave a lighter side to teen pregnancy.  And since I worked from home throughout my pregnancy, I basically got to dress just like her.

Quote: Couldn’t choose just one…

“I could so go for like a huge cookie right now, with like, a lamb kabob simultaneously.”

Mac: “I’m not ready to be a Pop Pop.”  Bren: “You’re not going to be a pop-pop. Somebody else is going to find a precious blessing from Jesus in this garbage dump of a situation.”

Baby Mama

Surprisingly, I didn’t really think much of the movie the first time I watched it.  The second, third and fourth time…totally different story.  It got even funnier after I was pregnant.  When Amy Pohler’s character pees on the sink because she can’t open the toilet?  I haven’t done it but I have no judgement…I hate those locks!

Quote: “If you listen to DMX, the baby comes out goin ‘Ennngghhh!”

Waitress

Though this isn’t the most morally stimulating of plots (unhappily married, accidentally pregnant and begins an affair with married OB/GYN),  I love how Jenna gradually warms up to her baby.   I also love how they portrayed the moment when mommy met baby for the first time.  Everything else just got blurry.

 Quote: “Dear Baby, I hope someday somebody wants to hold you for 20 minutes straight and that’s all they do. They don’t pull away. They don’t look at your face. They don’t try to kiss you. All they do is wrap you up in their arms and hold on tight, without an ounce of selfishness in it.”

   

Look Who’s Talking

 I’m pretty sure Walking on Sunshine was the very first song I put on Harry’s playlist.   I loved this movie as a kid and when I watched it as an adult all I could think was, “why was I allowed to watch this movie as a kid?”  You’re going to see that as a recurring theme here.   And I’m willing to confess that when I guess what Harry’s thinking, I think of it in the voice of Bruce Willis.

Quote: “Help! Help! Somebody burp me before I blow up!”

Three Men and a Baby

Another movie that I have no idea why I was allowed to watch this as a kid.  I guess it’s assumed that movies with babies and kids are safe for other kids to watch.  Watching it now – I cringe a bit when I imagine a mom leaving a poor baby on the alleged father’s doorstep.  This movie’s lucky it didn’t end up as, “Three Social Workers and a Baby.”

Quote: “Oh, this is disgusting. It’s all over and it’s… it’s sticky and… we’re going to need some kind of cleaning fluid to get this off.”

Mr. Mom

It’s been a while since I’ve watched this but we’re long overdue here.  Though I’m wondering if I should watch it as Matt will soon be solo with Harry for longer stretches during the week.   I’m not gonna lie – I’d put money on the chances of him holding up Harry to a hand dryer.

Quote: “I understand that you little guys start out with your woobies and you think they’re great… and they are, they are terrific. But pretty soon, a woobie isn’t enough. You’re out on the street trying to score an electric blanket, or maybe a quilt. And the next thing you know, you’re strung out on bedspreads Ken. That’s serious.”

Bella

Chances are you’ve never heard of this movie.  But within days of us watching it, Matt bought me a copy.  If a movie could encompass the way my heart feels, I think this is it.  There’s heartache, there’s redemption, there’s a greater plan than the sum of our “mistakes”.

Quote: Hard to pick, as a lot of this movie’s beauty is portrayed through motions, not spoken words.  But if I have to… “My grandmother used to say, ‘If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.'”

Raising Arizona

The reason this list isn’t numbered is because these last three would be tied for 1.  All three of these are movies I watched a lot as a kid (again, with the exception of Baby Boom…why?!).  Raising Arizona has scene after scene of lines that are on rotation in our house, especially since Harry came. It’s Coen brothers brilliance.

Quote: Too many.  There’s this.  But my favorite random one has to be:

“Son, you got a panty on your head.”

Parenthood

You know movies that stick with you in all walks of life?  Somehow, something in this movie is always relevant.  Lately, it’s been the scene where Rick Moranis’s wife pulls out her secret stash of Ding Dongs, taking a break from their strict diet.  Though I’m the one leading our Real Food lifestyle, I’ve definitely had daydreams about such indulgences.  I’m willing to bet Matt does, too.

(And this movie inspired the current TV show which is…awesome.)

Quote: Karen: “He likes to butt things…with his head.”

Nathan: “You must be so proud.”

Baby Boom

This one takes the cake.  The making of baby applesauce last week just reminded me of how much I love this movie.  While I was definitely given a more “ease-in” approach to motherhood than Diane Keaton was, I’ve juggled similar thoughts when it comes to being a working woman who wants a successful career, but ultimately knows that the babe will always come first.  The nanny interviews used to make me laugh, now they give me the heeby jeebies.

Quote: “I can’t have a baby because I have a 12:30 lunch meeting”


Honorable Mention: She’s Having a Baby (never actually seen it but heard great things), Hand That Rocks the Cradle (scary!), Father of the Bride II (“Father of the bride and a baby? GET OUT OF TOWN.”)

I know a lot of these are probably pretty predictable, but not without reason.  What did I miss?  What movie gave you a good belly laugh during pregnancy and during the infancy of parenthood?

[Mommyhood Monday] I Throw My Hands Up in the Air Sometimes

Mommyhood is hard.

I’ve always been very comfortable with babes and I’ve been blessed to be around an abundance of mommies who all had something incredible to offer me as a role model.  I’ve also always been comfortable with a crying baby – both of these things leading me and us to be pretty patient and confident in the decisions we’ve made for Harry.  This of course comes coupled with faith, knowing that the best intentions in parenting require a healthy serving of grace, humility and a sense of humor.

But there’s so much we don’t have any say in.  There are so many things that happen in his life that we hope to prepare for but at some point, we have to raise our hands up and trust.  And that’s hard.  I’ve known a couple moms who were overly anxious – worried about every little detail in their child’s life and no matter their child’s age, they still think they know what’s best.  Based on how much effort and thought and how I scrutinize every single detail on the topic of baby food alone, that has to be…exhausting.

Yet I know I’m prone to it.  I know I’m prone to over analyze and over think it and if I don’t throw my hands up and trust sooner than later, I never will.  Yes my son is only 6 months old but it was just an hour ago that he was born, right?   As a mom we’re told to soak it all in because it will fly by.

I soak and I soak but I just can’t soak hard enough.  I can’t take enough pictures…he’s incredible at letting me but none of them portray just how precious his smile is, just how joyful his laugh is at all times.  No journal entry can capture the depth of love I have for this babe.

So I throw my hands up and trust.  I trust that life is beautiful and that if I were gone tomorrow, this babe would know that I’d do anything for him.  And I trust that it would be enough.  We are blessed with such a community and family that I trust my son would never be in need.  Maybe he wouldn’t have a real food diet and maybe someone else would give up on cloth diapering for him but…he’ll still be great.  He’d still have that million dollar smile and, God and family willing, he’ll always know how special he is to us.

So in these moments where I worry about him being fed real food exclusively and I agonize over the fact that someone else lets him watch the TV already…I pledge to throw my hands up.  I pledge to be content in the decisions I’ve made as our decisions, not anybody elses.

And yes, I’m about to go be the creepy mom who stares at her babe while he’s sleeping.  Don’t judge me…I’m just soaking.

[Top Ten Tuesday] Harrison Taylor

I’m aware that this is cheating.  I know I can’t default to pictures of my kid whenever I have a packed day this early in the game.  But I am.

We take the same picture on the 1st of every month for his monthly photo shoot (below).  In the beginning we were so good about getting Wheezy on the same side in the same position.  But as Harry began to move around and was no longer the same size as his beloved elephant, efforts went out the window.

To commemorate Harry’s 6 month birthday, here are my Top Ten favorite things Harry does right now:

10. While nursing, he puts his hand up on my face.  Sometimes he goes straight for the mouth but other times he rests it on my cheek.  I swoon.

9. He intently watches everything going on outside the window or when we’re outside.  Just think, we take so many things for granted but he is still blown away by a tree and is mesmerized by a bird landing on the balcony.  I wish I could hear what goes on in his head, “Did you see that?  It can FLY!?”

8. Two weeks ago, while I was wearing a sleeveless shirt, he started blowing raspberries (zerberts?) on my shoulder.  Now whenever he gets the chance, he’s all over it.

7. He pulls himself to what he wants.  Kid’s got some strong arms and his “scootching” has great intent and focus to it.  Lately, we’ve gotten some good workouts with my phone placed just out of his reach.

6. [This one’s selfish] He reaches for me.  This started a few weeks ago and I was his forever (all over again that is).  I think we do a good job of allowing others to hold and play with him in order to help him be comfortable with people other than his parents but this kid knows, he owns me.

5. He holds his bunny when he’s tired.  Never any other time, only when he’s tired.

4. He scrunches his nose when he smiles.  He’s done this for months but it’s still one of my favorites.  And this kid can smile…a lot.

3. He cracks up when I make animal noises, especially when reading from his Animal Farm book. My husband thinks I’m funny and our child thinks I’m hilarious.  I couldn’t have asked for more.

2. He grabs his feet when riding in his carseat.  He smiles at himself in the mirror and he holds those legs out for a toe-touch or into his mouth for “dessert”.  Pure bliss.

1. He talks and talks and talks but still loves a cuddle.  If he’s not squawking like a bird or screeching like a cat, he’ll curl up and let us love on him.  I can’t cherish these days enough.

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Just barely made the post for Pacific Standard Time…hope everyone had a beautiful Tuesday!