Thursday, July 24, 2014

The dangers of texting...

How long after you have a baby does it take to get back in your normal swing of things?  To get back to a routine?  We are eight days post partum here, and I still feel like I can't manage even the simplest of daily tasks.

Getting dressed?  Never heard of that.
Dinner?  Forget about it.

And so, I apologize for the less than normal posting around here the last week or so.  We'll get back to normal.... I think. I am hoping by next week I can get back to a fairly set posting schedule.  Because the truth is there is so much to say and write and mull over in my brain that I am doing myself a huge disservice if I don't sit down and write on this blog.  Just give me a few more days.

While I am engaged in an endless cycle of feed baby/sleep/take pain meds/feed baby/sleep/take pain meds I am going to have Kylie take over for the rest of the day.  Kylie did one of my favorite guest posts ever a few months ago when she talked about a horrible tinder date she went on.  Now she is back to explain what happens to poor souls who accidentally text the wrong number.  Let's just say you don't want to be on the other side of a mistaken text conversation with this girl and her friends. Take it away, Kylie!

Hey all! Bonnie was sweet enough to have me back again and I'm super excited. Hopefully all she is busy doing is snuggling her cute new baby! You might remember me from this post... you know... the awful Tinder date. Yeah, that's me. This time around I have something a little different for you. I figured that this would be a fun one for Bonnie's blog because, well, she teaches high school. It's been a few years since I myself was in high school but it seems to me that they're only getting wittier and raising more commotion. Hence the following situation. My cousin (who goes to East High here in Salt Lake) was the one who showed this to me. One of his friends got a text from a wrong number so of course he couldn't just tell him that he had the wrong number. He had to mess with the poor guy. If this isn't enough to prove that you should really double check who you're actually talking to, especially if you're unsure, I don't know what is. It went a little something like this. . .

And indeed Bob sent a selfie.   Head on over to my blog to see it and read the rest of the conversation. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What I didn't know about having a baby

It has been one week since June made her grand entrance into our world and turned the whole thing upside down.

I had heard so much about being a mom before I ever became a mom.  My two sisters had kids before me and almost all my friends had babies before me.  My family is all Mormon and Mormons love big families so I've got cousins with babies and aunts with babies and church member friends with babies and babies with babies!  I'm no stranger to babies!  I have seen and held and cuddled a lot of babies!  And boy, have I heard a lot of baby tales!

So what could I say about having a baby that someone out there doesn't already know?  What could I possibly add to the baby conversation?

There isn't much.  It's all been said before. Your breasts are sore. You love your baby like nothing else.  You feel inadequate. You feel overjoyed. You never sleep.

So I'll just add this.  June was delivered via C section.  I was totally passed out while they stitched me up, and when I came to Greg said that she had been taken to the NICU because of some concerns with her breathing.  Because of that, I didn't get to see June until an hour or two after I had her.  When Greg brought her to me and I held her in my arms for the first time, I was overcome with the most complete happiness I have ever known.  It was an all encompassing feeling, stronger than anything I have ever felt before.  It was like I could feel her sweet spirit, her innocence, her total perfection.  It was safety and peace and a very real, almost tangible sense of God's love for me.  It is the closest I have ever felt to my Heavenly Father, and for a brief moment it was as if I could feel what heaven must be like.

That is something I never knew about having a baby.

And now, hospital pictures!

First ever family picture.

Two hours into fatherhood- totally nailing it.

She gets this look from Greg.

 First family selfie.  Success!

 I die inside when she makes funny faces like this one.

 My college bestie, Sally.  Also, Utah is 95 degrees right now, but Sally lives in Phoenix so she wears sweaters when she visits Utah in July.

 I also die inside when she cries.  I think it's about the cutest thing ever.  I have a feeling that might wear off soon, though.

 Greg's parents.  June's middle name, Rebecca, is after Greg's mom.
(Also, I'm so mad because my mom was at the hospital with me every dang day and I didn't get a picture of her with June.)

Marianne and Adam, favorite cousins and future babysitters.  (Right guys, right?!?)

I can't get over her littleness.

After three days in the hospital, we're homeward bound!

Sunday, July 20, 2014


June Rebecca Larsen
Born July 16, 2014
8:37 am
5 lbs 12 ounces
19 inches long

Nothing went "right" and yet somehow everything was right.  We are beside ourselves with happiness and couldn't be more smitten by our little June bug.  I keep wondering if I am going to wake up from a lovely summer dream.  She has surpassed our wildest expectations, and we couldn't be more in love.

There will be more details, of course, and certainly more pictures, but first...

First there must be sleep.

(For more pictures, make sure you are following me on Instagram.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

D-day Eve

One last belly pic.  The night before baby.

At 5 am tomorrow, Greg and I will roll on into the hospital.  They'll stick an iv in my arm, shave my belly (say what?) and make me fill out a bunch of insurance forms.  At 7 am the doctor will show up and do his darndest to turn this stubborn breech baby with his bare hands.  If he's successful, I will be induced.  If he is unsuccessful, I will have a C section.  Either way, this baby is coming out of me tomorrow.  Si o si.  (One of my favorite Spanish phrases. Literally translated it means yes or yes. Why doesn't English have a cool phrase like that?) 

By this time tomorrow it should be all over, and we hope to be holding and loving a healthy little girl.

Send good vibes. Please.

Monday, July 14, 2014

For my birthday boy

In one hour, the main man in my life will turn 26.

I didn't plan on falling in love with Greg.  He was originally a summer fling.  Someone to keep me entertained those hot August days.  I had graduated from college and was in a temporary state of limbo for a few months.  There were big changes happening in my life, but first there was this temporary summer lull.  An adorable redhead seemed just the thing to keep me entertained.  I met Greg while I was reading one summer afternoon on my apartment balcony;  I found him charming and quirky and utterly likeable.  So I thought I'd have fun with him for a few weeks because, you know, I had plans to move, to start my first real job, to grow up and definitely say goodbye to these young college boys.

By the time my car was packed with boxes four weeks later, though, I knew I wouldn't be saying goodbye to Greg.  I had fallen.

I fell in love with the silly accents he did when he opened the car door for me.
I fell in love with his smell.
I fell in love with his jawline and deep brown eyes.
I fell in love with the way he loved me.
I fell in love with how quickly and easily he could make me laugh.
I fell in love with his kisses.

And so, in December we decided to marry, and by March I was honeymooning in Mexico and telling my students to call me by a new last name.  It all happened so fast.

I thought I knew who Greg was when I married him.  But I didn't.  I only knew a sliver of the man he was.  I had fallen in love with so much of him, but was shocked to discover how much more of him there was to love.  

And I kept falling.

I fell in love with the way he adored his mom.
I fell in love with how competitive he was.
I fell in love with his passion for good theater.
I fell in love with the way his eyebrows furrowed when he concentrated extra hard on something.
I fell in love with his sensitivity and kindness and awareness of others' feelings.
I fell in love with how excited he was to talk about dogs.
I fell in love for the way he protected me and made me feel safe.
I fell in love with how excited he was to have kids, to start a family, to be a dad.
I fell in love with the way he calmed my fears when I was scared.

I fell in love with how I kept falling. Month after month. Year after year.

Happy Birthday, Bubsy boy!

Other birthday posts for Greg are here and here.

+This silly little article about Mitt Romney flying coach makes me sad all over that he's not president.  (Fact: I cried when he lost the presidential race.)
+A terrific post about what NOT to say to someone dealing with depression.
+How to get the perfect curl- I can never quite seem to master this!
+Laughed out loud at almost every single one of these "12 classic mom texts."  My mom is definitely guilty- especially of the texting about the voicemail about the missed call.
+A fascinating article on credit cards- this couple doesn't use credit cards, doesn't care at all about their credit rating and just bought a new home.  Do you agree with them? (I am a huge advocate of credit cards, myself, but the article definitely gave me something to think about.)

Waiting for Baby

I know all my posts have been about pregnancy/baby lately.  I try to keep a balance on the blog and not let any one thing take over.  I admit, though, it's been tough to think about other things this week as we went into extreme baby mode to try to get everything ready earlier than we originally anticipated.

We have an appointment in a couple of hours where the doctor will tell us the game plan.  When/where we will try to flip baby/possibly induce/maybe do a C section.  I feel like anything could happen at this point, and I am just trying to be flexible.  I totally don't want a C section, but if that's the way it goes, that's the way it goes.  I figure the key is to recognize that I have no control (always tough for a control freak like myself) and to just do whatever is safest and easiest to get baby out alive and healthy.

I think we're ready.  As ready as you can be, at least.  The bassinet is set up in the bedroom, the diapers are sitting on the shelf ready to be used, we even faced the daunting task of picking out a stroller and car seat.  Friday I felt a crazy burst of energy and spent the afternoon with my mom making a million freezer meals for after baby comes.  I finally feel like she can arrive and we would survive, so kudos to us!  We are somewhat prepared for a baby we have known about since November!

If you are tired of all things baby/pregnancy/stroller, I understand!  Life events are not nearly as exciting for other people as they are for the people going through them.  I've got someone else to introduce you to here so that you can get your fill of all things non baby related.  Steph writes about anything and everything- whatever kind of post you are looking for you can find with her!  Do yourself a favor and click two or three of her links below and I promise you'll be hooked for life!

Hi guys! I’m Steph from over at Steph’s Spot. I’m totally overthinking this post, because well overthinking is one of the things I do best, case in point: hugging. I wish I was one of those bloggers who know their niche, but I’m totally not. Once, I did a hair tutorial a few other times I shared some of my favorite recipes like Spicy Beef, Pepper Stir Fry with Garlic and Red Pepper Edamame,
or my two time award winning Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Occasionally, I’ll try my hand at writing reviews. I recently did a super scientific and totally official test where I compared a Fitbit Flex vs. Jawbone UP24 for two weeks and compared them head to head to determine which was better. I dabble in travel because I’ve been blessed to have parents who work for the airlines. Think Thanksgiving in Germany, Spring Break in Hawaii, and a cruise in May with my blogger friend Logan! I try to be funny, but mostly my jokes fall flat – reference that hugging post I mentioned above for proof. I guess it’s just hard to write funny... or maybe in reality I’m not as funny as I think I am. 

Lately I’ve been writing about my life, which is usually pretty boring. If you don’t believe me, check out a day in my life. Writing that post was a lot of fun, even with a pretty boring life. Lately though, things have been a little more exciting if I do say so myself. I recently changed jobs, which was exciting but surprisingly stressful. I also turned my feet blue in an epic Pinterest fail. Oh, and this other little thing... I’m getting married next year to my boyfriend {I don’t think I’ll ever get used to saying FiancĂ©} of eleven years. So I do write a bit about weddings.  For now at least. I write monthly updates on our wedding progress, which my mom likes. Actually, that’s a lie my mom doesn’t even read my blog. Which I think is a good and a bad thing. I mean she already stalks me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and as of today Snapchat so I feel like we’re pretty connected, but doesn’t everyone’s mom read their blogs?

If you care about weddings, but just not mine I’ve got stuff for you too. I’ve tried my hand at styling some bridesmaid looks, sharing wedding color combos I love, creating free printables, and even a nice easy template to use to turn down wedding vendors. If you’ve stuck with me to here, you deserve a cookie! Since I can’t give you all cookies, I’ll give you a little sneak peek at what’s coming up this month over at Steph’s Spot. On the 24th I’ll be throwing my little blog a small birthday celebration that will involve some sort of giveaway. Do other people throw blogs birthday parties or am I the only crazy who is going to do this? I’ll also be starting to share about my fitness journey.

Friday, July 11, 2014

The most surprising thing

I feel a bit overwhelmed at the level of concern and love that has been shown to us in the past 48 hours.  Thank you all so much for your kind comments and emails and words of encouragement.  I know I haven't responded to you all, but know that I have read them all and feel such an immense amount of love.

Last night my aunts threw me a baby shower.  It was a triple shower for me, my sister in law, and my cousin- we are all due with our firsts within a month.  (Mormon style- three in one!) Each almost mom to be was asked to share what the most surprising thing about pregnancy had been.  To be honest, pregnancy hasn't surprised me too much.  It has pretty much been what everyone always said it was going to be.  Back aches, tummy flutters, growing bellies, weird relationship with food.

What has surprised me the most is the way other people to react.  I first felt this when I announced my pregnancy.  The response on my blog was overwhelmingly kind and encouraging.  My family was beside themselves with excitement.  My students wanted to have a say in names.  I guess I thought it wouldn't really be too big a deal to most people that Greg and I had decided to start a family.  But it was.  I think there is something abotu bringing life to this world and welcoming such an innocent, little thing that really brings people together.  My dad always loved the idea of "gathering" people- I have been surprised by how many people this soon to be living and breathing baby has gathered to me.  Total strangers stop to ask when I'm due and if we know the gender.  People who wouldn't look twice at me offer to help me in the grocery store.  This week a lady came up to me at the pool, "Oh girl, I feel you.  I was pregnant in the summer last year and it was rough.  Popsicles and swimming pools are your survival key!"

And that's not to mention the people that do know me and care about me.  Friends and family called and texted yesterday, seeing if there was any way they could help me get ready.  People I know from college, from work, from a camp I helped host four years ago.  My friend in California told me she'd drive ten hours to be here if I needed and that, "you know I really would too."  Yep.  I know she really would.

So thank you!  Thank you for showing me that the most surprising thing about being pregnant is how totally nice people are.  That it brings out the best in people- the kindness and gentleness.  Thank you all for the kindness that has been shown to me and my little family.  We will take it with us, hoard it, keep it close this next week, and then do our darndest to send it back out in the world.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Sooner rather than later: some pregnancy news

37 weeks and 6 days.  But who's counting?

Yesterday Greg and I went to see the doctor.  It was a doozy of an appointment with a nonstress test, a growth ultrasound, and a regular doctor's visit.  Three in one, let's do this!

I felt a bit uneasy the entire appointment.  I'm not sure why, I just felt like everything was going to go wrong any second.  You know how you can just tell when things seem a little bit off?  That's how it felt.  During the ultrasound, doc said that baby still isn't as big as she should be.  She continues to measure behind- especially her stomach and legs.  Most likely she is healthy, but it is hard to tell if she is getting the nourishment she needs in my belly. My placenta is doing a pretty crappy job, apparently. The baby has also got what the doctor so affectionately calls a "north south problem"- meaning she's still breech. (I can't tell you the number of handstands in the pool I've done.  And for nothing!)

"From here, our best option is to deliver the baby sooner rather than later," explained the doctor.  "We need to try to turn her, and the bigger she gets, the harder it is to turn her- the less space she has."  Greg and I stared blankly at him, not saying a word.  What exactly dis this phrase "sooner rather than later" mean?  

"In addition, at this point she is far along enough and healthy enough that we can deliver at any time," doc continued.  "It may be better to deliver now and then monitor her nourishment outside the womb, that way we can ensure she is getting all the nourishment she needs, instead of not knowing for sure while she's still inside."

More blank stares from me and Greg.

"So... when would this be?" I asked.
"Likely within a week."
"Yes.  A week.  The absolute latest we would let you go is 39 weeks, so... a week and a half max."
"We're not ready at all!" I told the doctor.  As if that had anything to do with it.
He gave a chuckle and poked fun at us just a bit, "Well, you did know you were pregnant, right?  I mean, hopefully the news that you are having a baby is not a surprise..."

Touche, doc.  Touche.

I suppose the thing is that because I was measuring small the whole pregnancy, we erroneously thought that meant that I would have the baby late.  We have always been a couple weeks behind so in our minds that meant the baby would arrive a couple of weeks behind.  Makes sense, right? Anytime someone asked us the due date we'd stupidly say, "July 25, but she won't come until at least a week after that, probably the first week of August."  Yes, because we are the experts on when our first baby will decide to make her appearance into the world.  Oh, what a couple of idiots we are.

We ended the appointment with the doc telling me to schedule an appointment with the perinatologist- the special ultrasound guy- for a second opinion.  So that's where we ended up- with another doctor in another building in another dark room with more warm squishy gel slathered all over my stomach.  Doc #2 said yes, baby needs to come by at least 39 weeks and have a great day!

Pure panic.

I thought I had at least 3-4 more weeks to get ready for baby.  No big deal, no hurry, take it easy, all these other stressed out pregnant women just need to chillax, I was thinking.  But nope.  Instead of in four weeks, I will have my baby in one week... 39 weeks is a week from tomorrow.  A WEEK FROM TOMORROW.

The rest of yesterday was basically a frenzy.  We have SO much to do before the baby comes.  We wanted so badly to be in our home when she arrived, but that will definitely not be happening.  So now we have to get ready to welcome her home here, in our little one bedroom apartment.  We need a place (or thing?) where she can sleep, diapers, onesies, pacifiers, car seat stat!  There was so much to do, but as soon as we got home I rushed from room to room like a chicken with its head cut off, accomplishing absolutely nothing.  My mind couldn't focus on any one thing long enough to think logically or coherently about what action needed to follow, so naturally I just started washing and folding baby clothes like a mad man until I realized I had absolutely nowhere in our little apartment to put said clothes.  I then flipped out on Greg, started a dishwasher that was nowhere near full and finally fled to the grocery store to buy a box of otter pops.

In other words, I've got the mom thing totally figured out.

Act the way you want to feel

I'm having a bit of a hard time staying on top of my blogging game.

I guess you could say I'm a bit distracted.  My mind has mostly been going like this the past few weeks: Baby. House. Baby.

Also, it's summer.  Summer never lends itself as well to blogging as I think it will.  I have my days free and open, a total switch up from my chaotic and busy days of teaching.  But still, the post doesn't get done and email response time is sloooooooow.  Summer has a way of filling itself up with non work related things like swimming pools and barbecues and Office marathons.  And maybe that's the way it should be.

I will tell you what is helping my blogging game, though.  This little Kate Spade planner.

I'm pretty much in love.  Last week I went to a blogger get together and was totally inspired by how organized Amberly is with her blog.  She had her posts planned in her agenda, all the names of companies she wanted to work with, goals for each month, etc.  Impressive!  Then Miki was saying that even though everything she does for "work" is digital, the creative side of her still loves to use pen and paper.  I admit, I have had a very hard time switching over to electronic versions of some things.  I prefer to read a real book (Greg has BEGGED me to get a nook... my reading light at night drives him crazy), reading scriptures on an app lacks the spirituality for me, and planning something in my phone never quite makes me feel like the organized baller I so desperately want to be.  I suppose I'm old fashioned, but I'll be a tangible planner girl for the rest of my life.  I love being able to see all in one place what I have going on for the rest of the week, the month, the year. This particular planner goes 17 months- it starts in August 2014 and goes all the way through 2015.  And mine has books on the cover.  I'm in love.  (Although I also love the gold polka dotted version.)

I was going to write a whole post today on how I organize my days in the summer.  But that sounded boring to me.  So I'm not going to write that.

I'm going to write this instead.  A little over a year ago I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and many of the ideas in that book have stuck with me.  A saying I often think of that she uses is "Act the way you want to feel."

I have found that saying to be perhaps the most helpful thing in my pursuit of just being a decent human being.  Take yesterday for example.  I was pretty stressed out after our doctor's appointment because of some uncertain news, (which I will post more tomorrow... not trying to be vague, just don't know details yet) and then I went into this total panic when I realized we didn't have anything ready for a baby.  I started washing and folding clothes, getting sheets on the bassinet, taking care of all the little things I keep saying I will do sometime in the ultra vague time period of "before baby."  Greg left to work and I was grumpy with him because of stress and panic and somehow it was all his fault.  You know.

Then, last night I went to dinner with two good friends of mine- a friend from my time in Argentina and her twin, whom I worked with at Copper Hills.  I made myself put my stress away because I wanted to enjoy the night and I wanted to be a pleasant, fun, happy person.  After dinner we sat in their front yard just chatting and chatting and the night was perfect.

When I got home I decided to walk through our home that is being built.  It was dark, but I took a flashlight because I wanted to see the color that had just gone up on the walls.  It is supposed to be light gray.  But it didn't look gray at all !  It just looked cream!  I was beyond bugged- the flooring is already going in and the paint is the totally wrong color! (First world problems, I know.  I swear, I hate myself sometimes for caring about this stuff.)

Naturally, when Greg came home, I took the paint color debacle out on him.  My happy dinner mood had long since vanished, and I was back in brat mode.  When I complained about the paint to Greg, he defended the builders/ painters, saying that I had chosen a very light color and that it hadn't looked very "gray" at all on the swap, but that I had been insistent we get something light.  Naturally, I didn't remember this.  I thought I had chosen the perfect shade of gray.  He was right, of course, but I hate it when he's right and I hated it that he didn't have sympathy for my paint fit.  (Even as I type this out, it all sounds so totally embarrassing and ridiculous.)  Greg was sweet, though, and kept asking me how I was feeling, if everything was okay, what he could do, etc., to which I mostly gave him one word responses while I looked at car seats online.  It didn't take long for Greg to call me out on my behavior, "So, are you just going to be in a bad mood until we have the baby?" and he went to get in the shower.

It made me think.  I had been in a bad mood all day, but really only Greg had gotten the grunt of it.  When I was with other people, I forced myself to be happy.  I wanted feel happy, so I acted happy.  And I was.  When Greg was around, though, for whatever reason I didn't put any more effort into acting happy.  I was mopey and whiney and kind of needy.

So I remembered my little mantra from The Happiness Project, and promised myself that I was going to act the way I wanted to feel.  Because I didn't REALLY want to feel whiney and mopey.  It was just the easiest thing to feel.  What I really really wanted to feel was excited, energetic, blessed, flirty.  So I acted that way.  And pretty soon, it wasn't acting, I really did feel that way.

The night did a complete 180 and Greg and I told inside jokes and laughed in bed until way past when we should have fallen asleep.  The night was good.

When I'm frustrated with someone, mad at a situation, want to freak out on someone.  When I want to complain and whine and throw baby hissy fits.  When a blog commenter offends me.  I don't want to feel offended.  So I try to tell myself to act the way I want to feel.  Not offended. Not whiney.  Not mad.  Not frustrated.

It doesn't always work.  But it works a lot.  Try it and report back to me.  I promise you- it's a game changer.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Pregnancy Update: 37 weeks

37 weeks.

We're on the home stretch here.  Three weeks to go.

My mood has been doing this thing lately.  It goes: get this baby out of me now, please keep the baby in forever, get this baby out of me now, please keep the baby in forever, get this baby ouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut!  It's a lot of fun!

Greg asked me the other day, "Are you ready to not be pregnant anymore?"  I replied, "Yes.  But then I have a baby.  And I'm more scared of the baby then I am of being pregnant."

I mean, don't get me wrong. I'm totally stoked to be a mom.  And I'm not some kind of a freak show- I think being nine months pregnant is just as annoying as the next nine month pregnant lady.  My back aches, my stretched out skin kills, I'm exhausted, nothing nothing nothing fits, and I waddle like a penguin.  BUT.  Here's the deal.  Pregnancy is a beast I know.  It has been tamed.  I understand what I'm dealing with.

But a baby?  Better the devil you know than the devil you don't, I say.

I don't know what my child is going to be like.  I don't know if she'll be fussy and colicky and cry dawn to dusk.  I don't know if she'll have major blow outs at the most inconvenient time possible.  I don't know if she'll up and decide she doesn't like my milk.  I don't know if she's going to be the type that enjoys a great party at 3 in the am, and while I have had my share of great 3 am parties, I'm kind of over them now.  So yes, I'm excited, but I also don't mind these lazy days of summer, laying around with my big belly, going to the pool to cool off, sleeping in because I can.  No.  I do not mind.

A lot of people ask me if we are "ready".  The answer is no.  Not in the least bit.

We do not have:

A name
A stroller
A car seat
A diaper bag (or a diaper, for that matter!)
A room for baby to sleep in
A birth plan (Birth plan is basically this: epidural please!)
A breast pump

We have not:

Taken any kind of birthing class.
Moved into our home that was supposed to be done on July 5th.  (The new estimated finishing time for house is the weekend of July 25th.  Well, I'll be, baby is due on July 25th!  Couldn't have worked out more perfectly, right?)
Decided on a color theme for her nursery.  I mean, that's kind of hard when there's no nursery, right?

We DO have:

A crib that is sitting in pieces in our very hot garage, so generously given to us by my sister.  I want to paint it white, but am completely lacking the motivation so it sits on.
A $20 bassinet I got from a garage sale.
A bunch of shoes that are merely for looks- much too small for the baby to wear when she can actually walk. (I also got these from a garage sale.)
A very random assortment of sizes and styles of clothes- most from garage sales.
A high chair- also from my sister.
A baby snow suit.  Because it's July...
A baby life jacket.  In case we feel like throwing our newborn into the lake.

As you can see, we have a lot of stuff we don't really need, and not much of the things we do need.  Basically I went to a garage sale a week ago and got a bunch of random stuff, and then my sister who is moving and done having kids let me raid her attic.  Hence, the eclectic mix of stuff.  But still, it's something! Progress, people!

I try to be a minimalist and not get into too much "stuff", but it's so hard to know what you really need and what is just a bunch of extra stuff.  You know?  I mean, a woman could go stark raving mad trying to get everything in the world for baby- I just want the basics.  Tell me now- what are the baby things you really NEED?

Obviously I have no clue what I'm doing, but these are the things that I think I absolutely need.  And I'd like some advice and help.  Seriously.  I'm a mess.

My Baby "Essentials"

Carseat/ Stroller:  I'm all about scoring a great deal, but I don't quite dare to get a car seat or stroller at a garage sale, so I suppose that's a purchase that needs to be made soon.  But why the endless options!?  You look at the strollers in Target for three minutes and it's enough to stress out the most sane of women.  I just want a stroller, people.  (Maybe some kind of carseat/ stroller combo... Is that too much to ask for? Is it possible to get this for under $200?)

Diaper bags:  I have been tempted the last couple of weeks to fork over the money for this bad boy.  I love it in the green/yellow.  But can I really justify $150+ on a DIAPER BAG?!  I love, though, that it doesn't look too diaperbaggy- more like a big purse.  And every person I have ever talked to about getting a petunia picklebottom diaper bag has said that the bags are worth their weight in gold.  But seriously?  $165 for a diaper bag?!?  Anyone out there who has had a regular diaper bag and a "premium" diaper bag want to chime in- is it worth it to pay the extra?

Breast pump:  Even typing that makes me feel like some kind of milk machine.  I think I need one.  I have no idea how they work.  I looked at a breast pump in the store and it stressed me out and made me feel like any femininity I've ever had had booked it out the door.  Also, Bottles.  Why are these so confusing?  Are there certain bottles that go with breast pumps and certain bottles for formula?  I understand very little.

Also, if you want to chime in on your favorite girl name, now would be the time.  Greg and I are at a total standstill.  I mean, a name isn't necessary, right?

4 signs that your puppy is no longer a puppy.

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Purina One, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #ONEDifference

Maverick, the first night we got him.  October 2013.

Maverick now, all grown up. July 2014.

I've been going through this weird nostalgic puppy dog stage lately.  Believe me, it's as wacky to me as it is to anyone else.  It blows my mind that I care at all about a dog, let alone that I sit and reminisce about the good old days when he was just a young pup.  But he was so little and cute and adorable!  And now, by golly!  He's all grown up!  How could he have ever been so little?

The craziest thing about your dog growing up on you is that you don't notice at all when it is happening.  You think he's still a puppy and then one day you just realize.  Nope.  He's not a puppy anymore.  He's a big boy.  And it kind of breaks your heart in a weird "this-animal-is-no-longer-small-anymore" kind of way.  Even without the photos to prove it, there are a few things that have been going on for old Mavvy that prove no doubt about it that this dog is growing up.

1.  He's got the concentration/ focus skills of a mad man.  Which basically means that he will fetch a ball all day long.  It has been so fun to teach him to play fetch, but it's also kind of sad.  When he was a puppy he could never focus long enough to bring the ball back, would get distracted by everything in sight, or would just want to wrestle around instead of go get the ball.  Now, though, he will bring that tennis ball back to me for literally hours.  Certainly his total determination is a sign that this guy is growing up on us. 

Just look at him lusting after that ball.  Such focus.

2.  He's no longer eating puppy food.  The first week of June we took Maverick off of his puppy food and participated in the 28 day Challenge with Purina One.  The goal was to see and monitor how Maverick responded over that time to his new dog food.  Well, it didn't take long to realize that Maverick was more than ready to be off the puppy food and he absolutely loves the Purina One SmartBlend.  The kind we got is a chicken and rice formula and the first night he had it, Maverick ate the entire bowl in one sitting- something he never does.  He also fattened up just a little bit since he has been eating the food which makes me happy because I always worry he's too skinny.  (You can participate in your own 28 day challenge with Purina One- use this coupon for $3 off your bag of dog food!)

3.  He's totally social.  When Maverick was just a little guy he would run away from other dogs or always be intimidated by them.  Now he LOVES other dogs. He totally thinks he's a big dog and so he'll play with any dog, any size, and half of the time ends up getting his trash kicked, but he doesn't care.  It's kind of adorable to watch him make friends with all the other dogs.

 Meeting a new dog.  Traditional butt sniffing.

4.  He got fixed.  With his manhood no longer in place, this dog is officially grown up.  We can let him chase the female dogs to his heart's delight with no worry about mini Mavericks springing up behind our backs.  Still, though, something about getting Maverick fixed made it seem much more official to me that he was now a big boy dog.

Maverick the night of his little operation.  He wasn't feeling so hot.

Yep.  He's officially a grown up.  All ready to be a doggie big brother now?

You can learn more about participating in the Purina One 28 Day Challenge here:

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Europe part 2: How to get lots of pictures with somebody who doesn't like taking pictures.

One of the main things Greg and I disagree on while on vacation (and in life in general) is PICTURES.  I love to take pictures of anything and everything, I've got no problem lugging a big camera around or pulling it out whenever I feel like.  Greg hates sticking out at all or drawing any unnecessary attention to us.  On a vacation, Greg doesn't want to look like a tourist.  Taking pictures of everything every second only screams, "We're not from here!"  I couldn't care less what a bunch of foreigners think of me.  To me they should be flattered that I'm visiting their country and that I think it's beautiful and want to take pictures of it.  If I had my way I'd take pictures all day every day.  If Greg had his way, we'd leave the camera at home.

I think we were about two days into our seventeen day European stay when Greg decided he was done with pictures.  He didn't want to be in any more pictures, didn't want to pose for pictures, didn't want to stop constantly to snap snap snap.  I know that taking pictures can be a huge nuisance while you are there, but when a vacation is over all that remains are the pictures.  And even though he doesn't like to admit it, Greg loves looking at pictures after it's over.

So, we both compromised a little.  We tried a couple of technics, if you will, to make sure that we got all the pictures I wanted, and to ensure that Greg wasn't miserable sticking out like a tourist and posing for pictures non stop.

Technic #1:  Get Greg to take the pictures.  I discovered that Greg didn't mind taking the pictures nearly as much as being in the pictures.  So I gave Greg the camera and made him take the pictures- something about not having to pose for the pictures suited him just great.  Of course, I knew I could have him pose a couple of times here and there with me, just not non stop.  So he took over the camera reins and every one was much happier.

Almost all of these pictures are from our stay in Switzerland.  We went for four days with my sister and her family and stayed at a beautiful cabin right smack dab in the middle of the Alps with a lake on either side of us.  It was absolutely the most beautiful place I have ever been in this world.

^^ Greg also didn't mind snapping pictures of me and my sis, which made it perfect because we got lots of great shots together.  Also, people say we look alike- whaddya think?

 ^^Stuttgart, Germany.



^^ Of course, once Greg was in charge of the camera the first thing he wanted was to take pictures of the outhouse.  Boys will be boys.

^^ Free roaming cows in the Alps, don't mind if I do!

Technic #2:  Very fast selfies.  Greg was good for exactly two "selfies" on vacation.  He HATES it when I try to take selfies (especially with the DSLR- says it makes him feel like a true idiot) but if I am fast enough I can usually snap one or two.

^^ Selfie #1:  Hiking in Switzerland

^^ Selfie #2: Paddleboating in Prague.  And we're maxed out for selfies!

Technic #3:  Unposed pictures of Greg.  

When I did want pictures of Greg, I snapped most of them unposed.  I think it's the constant posing, smiling, pausing that he (and I am guessing most men?) started to get tired of.  I took a lot of pictures of Greg when he didn't know I was taking pictures, or I just said, "Greg, look at me" and snapped a picture.  Painless way to get all the shots I wanted!

^^ One of my favorite shots of the whole trip, Greg snoozing on a rock in Switzerland.  Looks like Lord of the Rings.

^^ This is Greg and his new friend he made from Ukraine.  We met him in the middle of Prague's town square.  They rattled away at each other in Russian for 10 minutes and then were magically best friends.  That's how I make all my best friends, too, don't you?

 ^^ Jewish cemetary in Prague.  Greg is unaware of the camera.

^^ Paddleboating in Prague.

Technic #4:  Save the posed pictures for the best and prettiest sites.  I think the reason why Greg dislikes posing with me for pictures is that we have to ask someone else to take the picture for us, and Greg hates inconveniencing other people.  He would much rather skip the picture than have a stranger take it. With my sister and brother in law he didn't mind as much, as long as it wasn't incessant.  So I only asked him to pose with me for the best sites, and in Prague, when we went without my brother and sister, I only asked a stranger once or twice to take a picture of him, allowing Greg to not have to feel too uncomfortable posing for strangers.

^^ Pictures taken by my brother in law in Switzerland.

 ^^Picture taken by my sis, unbeknownst to both Greg and me.

 ^^ Picture taken by Greg's new Ukrainian friend in Prague's town square.  Who can say no to posing in such a gorgeous place?

^^ Picture taken by our waiter... it's the only picture I have of me and Greg with my sister and her husband, Ben.  This was after the most delicious and quiet dinner overlooking the city of Stuttgart on a Saturday night.  Germany was playing Ghana that night in the world cup so the restaurant was pretty much dead and we sat and chatted unrushed.  It was one of my favorite nights there.

This post started out as a post about the differences between Greg and I while traveling and merged into a post just about how to take pictures.  I swear, sometimes my blog posts do what they want with no regard to what I initially set out to write.  Next post will be about all the differences in traveling styles, I promise!