Thursday, January 31, 2008


At the library, Fly was minding his own business pulling pages out of books playing quietly when a little girl came up to him. I don't know how old she was, but she was a good six inches taller than Fly.

First, she patted his head and stroked his hair. She looked at me, and I smiled. Then, she took a long look at Fly -- who was mostly ignoring her -- and threw her arms around his neck and hugged him.

I know Fly is irresistibly cute, but I didn't expect the girls to chase after him so early!

Back off, girls, he's mine for at least a few more years!


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What I'd Wear Wednesday: Etsy!

What I'd wear today if I could: my new handbag from Etsy shop Lee's Unique Boutique!

That's right -- this week, I am actually posting something I already own. (Oh, wait, I did that before.) I just found this bag and loved the dragonflies all over it (because it's clear I love odonata). Also, anyone who has read WIWW for any length of time knows I adore black and white as well. Dragonflies ... black and white ... how could I go wrong? It's about a foot long, so this bag is big enough to carry all my essentials.

Because it's made of fabric, it easily goes into the tote I use to carry things that Fly needs. (I call that a baby bag -- not a diaper bag). Another purse I use right now is sturdier -- more structured -- and so it basically sits on top of my baby bag. Making it easy for an inquisitive toddler to grab and hie away with it, sigh....

The really great thing about this handbag, though, is it's one of a kind. Or possibly two or three of a kind -- but you know what I'm saying. It's fun to have or wear something no one else does.

Do you have something you love from Etsy?

Do you like wearing one-of-a-kind pieces?

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Win a gift card from a lame lemming

Jessie at The Lucas Zoo has won the giftcard! Thank you to everyone who stopped by and shared a comment here at Growing a Life. Please visit again the week of Feb. 10-16 for another chance at a giveaway!

Do you know what it feels like to have hundreds of people post a comment on your blog?

Oh, you do. Oh, um (awkward silence) . . . .

All right, I confess I don't know what that's like. (But it's quality, not quantity, I'm after anyway. And all of my regular readers are quality commenters!)

But I admit I still wonder what that would feel like. Hundreds of comments, ahhhhh.....

So that's why I'm lemming myself into the Bloggy Giveaways that are taking place this week, organized by Rocks in My Dryer. Speaking of bloggers in the hundreds, there are hundreds of giveaways going on there this week. (As if you didn't already know....)

Not only am I a lemming, but I'm also lame, and that's why my giveaway item will be an $18 (plus change) giftcard to TJ Maxx, which is what I received when I took back a gift after Christmas. The Maxx assures online visitors there are more than 800 stores, and so someone has to have a great desire to leave a comment, win the giftcard and go shopping for reduced-priced designer items. (Last time I was there, I saw a Vera Wang nightgown -- improperly placed on the dress rack -- for $15! Vera Wang, people! I also saw one of my What I'd Wear Wednesday items -- this little number -- for a third of its original price!)

So, to enter, leave a comment but not at this post. You must leave a comment on any other post here at my blog and mention the code word TJ Maxx somewhere in your comment (even if you just tack it on at the end of your comment).

I'll announce a winner sometime this weekend. Good luck!

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Three things

Scribbit gave me the Mwah award. Isn't that sweet? Right back atcha, blondie. Thank you! Mwah! Mwah! Heather at Cool Zebras also awarded me this gem. Yay! I'd like to pass this on to . . . you!

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And Kelly at Don Mills Diva tagged me for a meme about favorite posts I've written. This is tough -- I don't know if I am capable of picking the best/favorite posts of mine -- but here are a few goodies from the past six months.

Oh, and the posts have to follow certain guidelines.

Link 1 must be about family.
Link 2 must be about friends.
Link 3 must be about yourself.
Link 4 must be about something you love.
Link 5 can be anything you choose.

1. A baby's parting gift. Babyhood, toddlerhood, mamahood.

2. Weekend camping trip, Or, Lovebug orgy fest. This is what happens when you go camping with friends during lovebug season.

3. Where are you, Jamie Lynn Drury? Making friends, or not.

4. The greatest of these is love. Just love.

5. My dad can beat up your dad. For all those competitive fathers.

I'm also supposed to encourage you to comment on these posts if you haven't already.

And then I'm supposed to tag five people, two of whom are newish to me, except this is already a lot of supposed-tos, so I will just let you have at it if you'd like to show off your favorite posts.

Thanks, Kelly!

- - - - -

Also, um, have you seen this? Would you use it? For the purpose it's intended?

- - - - -

OK, four things. Don't forget I'm Sincere Week coming up in two weeks. Write a post to imitate your favorite blogger(s). It can be a post in his or her writing style, or it can be your version of a classic post he or she wrote . . . that kind of thing. Show your favorite bloggers that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Get the lead out

Visit Shoe

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Things I never thought I'd say

Fly, where did you get that little piece of wallpaper?

Gah! Stop playing in the toilet!

I can't put your diaper on with your butt up in the air like that.

You just bit a chunk out of your potty seat!

The cat doesn't like it when you pour things on her.

We can't play with this really noisy toy right now because it's sleeping.

And finally . . . .

What did I come into this room for?

- - - - -

I'm Sincere Week starts in two weeks! Be thinking about the bloggers you admire and how you would imitate their style.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Attitude problem

It was almost 12 years after JP and I were married before Fly was born.

Twelve years.

Most people don't wait that long.

Many people assumed we couldn't have children or had been trying, and some people even pointedly asked me what fertility method we used to "get pregnant" when I was expecting Fly.

But, nope.

It was just a combination of us having a good time enjoying being a couple -- and trying to get careers in place.

JP and I had counted on one of us (ahem, moi) staying home with any child(ren) we would have. His mother stayed home when he was a kid, and mine mostly stayed home (or my grandmother took care of me), and that was what we knew. I had hoped to work toward a point in my career that would allow me to work part-time from home, or to be able to set my own hours -- that kind of thing. JP had worked toward building a business that would, we hoped, cover our expenses, including a child's. That took time.

Now that we have Fly and I am able to stay home with him as we had hoped and dreamed, I feel blessed. And yet, sometimes I feel staying home with Fly is a burden. I don't know how I can feel both ways at the same time....

Today, JP has taken the day off work to go to a car race. He's taking off tomorrow, too, and there are events on Saturday and Sunday. Cars are a big obsession with JP.

But it still pisses me off that he can do these things -- which are just a hobby -- while I couldn't attend a writing conference last year that was important for my book -- my career.

This past weekend, I wanted to go camping, which has been our tradition every Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. I need time outdoors, or I go nuts.

But we didn't go, basically, because JP didn't want to.

And so here I am, living the dream ... but sometimes quite grumpily.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What I'd Wear Wednesday: Feminine

What I'd wear today if I could: a floaty, filmy, sheer chiffon shirt sort of like this one from Forever 21.

Sigh. Something is happening in the wardrobe of my mind. It's getting really girly! I keep seeing these super-feminine button-front shirts in sheer fabrics -- usually pink -- almost in a 1940s style. Sometimes the shirt is in more vibrant colors and patterns, but it's always this basic style, more or less.

I'd wear a shirt like this with jeans (or a cute pencil skirt, if there was an occasion). And a cool necklace, which Fly would undoubtedly play with mercilessly.

Maybe this is all just a sign of spring....

- - - - -

If you haven't heard about I'm Sincere Week, please check it out! Write a post imitating your favorite blogger to let her know how much you enjoy her blog -- because imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.


Monday, January 21, 2008


Now my blog has a reputation.

- - - - -

Earlier today....

JP: Fly knows the word crab.

Me: Really?

JP: Yeah, watch. (JP shows Fly a crab toy.) What is this, Fly?

Fly: Dad!

Me: I'm impressed! I think Fly is calling you crabby.

- - - - -

JP's mother, MM, gave me a trial-size lotion of her favorite perfume.

Me: Look, honey, now I can smell just like your mom.

JP: (worried look on his face)

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sincerely yours

Valentine’s Day is coming . . . . I say we show our favorite bloggers how we’re sweet on them!

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If you have a few bloggers you admire, why not show them just how much you admire them by imitating their writing style with a post on your own blog?

The week of Feb. 10-16, Growing A Life will be hosting I’m Sincere Week, a blog carnival-y-type thing, just for the fun of it.

Here’s what to do:

For any blogger you admire, write a post in that person’s style (in the best way you possibly can) and put it up on your blog any time during the week of Feb. 10-16. (Even if you choose to imitate more than one blogger, write only one post per blog you are imitating.) And please -- truly be sincere. Don’t imitate someone’s blog with a mean spirit.

Then e-mail me with the link(s) to your post(s) so I can keep a running list, and let the blogger you admire know that you’ve imitated him or her on your blog as part of I’m Sincere Week.

Everyone who writes an imitation post will be able to snag an “I’m Sincere!” button. And any blogger who was imitated can post an “I’m Flattered!” button (both to come).

As I said, I’ll keep a list of bloggers who have admirers out there, with links to all the posts written in their style.

Will you be an admirer? An admiree? Probably both!

Leave a comment if you think you’ll join in!

PS: I have to give props to, and for digital images used to create the nifty image above.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Not a girl, never a woman

Wow! Thank you, everyone, for your incredibly touching and supportive comments on yesterday's post. It really means a lot to me. Because of your comments, I feel a little less than crazy....

- - - - -

But today, I am confused.

First, a test.

This is a (check one) boy or girl

And this is a (check one) boy or girl

(I know you saw these pix yesterday -- I'm too lazy to post new ones.)

Three different people today -- people I don't know, out in public -- referred to Fly as a girl.

Is it time to lop off his little curls in the back? Get him a tattoo? Let him run around a bit dirty and smelly?

Shame he's too big for this....

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

More love

The longer I am a parent, the more angry I get at my own parents.

Usually, it's different -- becoming a parent makes you appreciate your own parents even more.

I get angry at my parents because I see what has gone into the caring and rearing of Fly, and I know the lengths I would go to for him.

I don't believe they did the same for me.

- - - - -

My mother and dad were both on their second marriage when I came along. Then they divorced when I was three or four -- old enough to remember them fighting.

My mother had a string of boyfriends before marrying my stepfather, who turned out to be an alcoholic. My dad almost immediately married my stepmom, who was kind and nurturing while I was little but who became emotionally abusive when I turned into a teenager and young adult.

I remember my grandmother watching me a lot when I was young, and I remember going to babysitters' homes too.

But I don't remember any good times with my mother and father together. Not a run to the ice cream shop, not a walk around the block, not reading a book in their lap. Nothing.

My parents shared custody of me. I lived with my mother and stepfather for the most part but spent weekends, summers and holidays with my dad and stepmom until I was old enough by law to choose. Then I left my mother's partying ways and moved several states away to live with my dad and stepmom.

Today, my stepfather is dead, and my father lives I-don't-know-where in the South but hasn't tried to get in touch with me in 13 years even though he knows how to reach me. (A half-brother gave him my information.) My mother and I have reconciled, but she lives far away, and there's still a part of me that doesn't trust her completely. My stepmom insists she cares, but she puts everything else before returning my calls and e-mails, often not contacting me for months at a time.

- - - - -

I'm sharing this not to ask for some awful pity party, but to point out I don't really have a good role model when it comes to parenting. And I don't have a parent figure I can turn to for help or ideas when I am struggling with Fly. Reading parenting blogs really helps, because I get an idea of what it's like for other moms.

A few years ago before Fly came along, I told all this to a neighbor. I told her I really thought having a child would be wonderful, but I was afraid my experience with my parents would leave me clueless and empty of parent-love -- not something I wished on a helpless baby. My neighbor assured me that children are a blessing from God and so God would help me figure out how to care for a child and raise that child in the right way.

Her advice made sense then, and it's something I remind myself now. Some days, I even take a little pride in the idea that I am parenting in my own style and tell myself to be glad I don't have to rely on what my parents did (because they didn't do anything) or that I don't have to ask them for advice because I am relying on God.

But some nights after a trying day with my fussy Fly, I compare myself to Fly and wonder what it would have been like to grow up in the love of parents who actually cared.

Although, if they cared, then I might not have moved away, and I wouldn't have met JP, so then there would be no Fly.

And some days I look at Fly and wonder how I am going to do this parenting thing, even with God's help. During those pressed-but-not-quite-crushed days, it makes me angry because I know my parents took the easy way out.

And then, of course, I realize I need to forgive my parents and move on.

But I still miss their lack of love.

And that makes me want to stay in the game even more, for Fly, so he doesn't say the same thing about me when he grows up.

Almost every parent wants for their children more than what they had themselves -- and for Fly, oh, what I want for Fly is more love.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What I'd Wear Wednesday: Organic

What I'd wear today if I could: this organic cotton dress from Cottonfield Organic Cotton. (Anyone care to say the word cotton one more time?) To make it an even better choice, it's called the "damsel dress." The dress comes in brown and black and has a bit of stretch to it -- which makes this your basic go-to dress for just about anything. You could dress it up or down.

You know what I love about dresses? Even though I don't wear them that much, dresses make getting dressed so easy. One piece over your head or zipped up the back, and you're done. No worries about matching this piece to that piece.

I also love that it's organic. I would really like to look more into organic clothing. I think there are more choices out there than there used to be -- and the selection is probably just going to get better and better as more and more people look for organic clothes. (Click here for a list of companies that sell organic clothing.)

When Fly was born and I started noticing organic baby clothes and blankets, I didn't get what the fuss was about. But then I learned cotton is supposedly the second-most-sprayed crop when it comes to pesticides and the like. (Coffee is reportedly number one. Gulp.) Many companies are growing cotton organically, though, which is better for our planet and likely better for our health.

Do you wear organic? If so, where do you shop for it?

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Don't fear the fetishists! Oh, the outrage!

eBay is really working hard at being ridiculous and at making me mad!

I tried to sell some of Fly's very well-cared-for cloth diapers, and eBay removed my listings, saying:

"Due to hygiene concerns, eBay does not permit the sale of used underwear. This includes, but is not limited to:

- Boxer shorts
- Panties
- Briefs
- Athletic supporters
- Cloth diapers"


Does eBay really think a mom is going to come crying to them when she finds out she has just purchased a cloth diaper that another child has used -- Gasp! -- when the auction clearly says it's a used diaper? Any mom who is looking to save money by buying used cloth diapers knows exactly what she's doing -- it's a great way to save money. How is buying and using a used cloth diaper any different from dressing your kid in used swim trunks, is what I'd like to know. (And why are used panties verboten, but used bras are A-OK?) (EWWW!)

Besides all that, commercial diaper services take your dirty diapers, wash them, and bring back clean, used diapers that were likely on another child's butt. So the idea of using pre-owned cloth diapers -- especially the really nice, expensive ones, like all-in-ones or pocket diapers -- isn't new.

Hygiene concerns. As if.

I went poking around online and found a huge outrage against eBay's anti-used-cloth-diaper policy. There's even an online petition to get eBay to change its policy.

But this mom may have figured out eBay's real reason for not allowing used cloth diapers -- it's pretty creepy, but it's to cut down on fetishists. (Um. I don't even want to know what a grown person would do with a little diaper that barely covers your hand.) Still, she says, "why punish a community that aids in reducing, reusing, and recycling?" Amen, sister!

Fortunately, in my indignant searching, I found a couple places online where you can buy/sell/trade cloth diapers (including used ones! eBay!), at and

The funniest thing is I was still able to sell some of Fly's diapers that eBay didn't catch.

Take that, eBay!

{We now return to our regularly mild-mannered blog topics....}

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

A first on this blog! Cocodoodles

These are cocodoodles. They aren't snickerdoodles because they're made with cocoa. And they aren't labradoodles because that's a dog (but just as fun to say). They're cocodoodles.

About 6.7 minutes after I came home from the supermarket today, I heard JP tell Fly, "Darn! I forgot to tell your mom I wanted some cookies." (Nice hint, eh?)

To JP, the only kind of cookie that exists is a chocolate chip cookie. But this house hadn't seen chocolate chips since....

However, I knew we had cocoa, so I pulled out the basic things that go into cookies and made these dark little beauties.

JP approved.

So if you make these cookies and enjoy them, that's my story. But if these cookies poison your whole family, well, then, I got the recipe from some old 1970s fundraiser cookbook. And if you make them and people go wild for them -- donations via PayPal are accepted!

Damselfly's Cocodoodles

1 stick of butter, softened
1 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup cocoa (I used Hershey's dark chocolate cocoa)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray.

Cream the butter and sugar together. Then add the egg and mix it until it's creamy. (Add some vanilla if that floats your boat.) Blend the flour, salt, baking soda and cocoa together, and slowly add it to the butter mixture, beating it well.

Roll the cookie dough into 1-inch balls and put them on the cookie sheet, fitting about one dozen on the sheet at a time.

Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes.

This cookie recipe should make about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

If you're at a high elevation, I can't help you out because that whole elevation/baking thing mystifies me!

I think these cookies would be even better dipped in chocolate, or maybe even frosted.

But anyway, these are easy, chocolate cookies to make -- no chocolate chips required!

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Sweet 16

Two days ago, Fly turned sweet 16 months old.

Today, though, will go down as the day he climbed up the playground unit and went down the slide all by himself. Completely unassisted by moi. (Somebody had to take pictures.)

I think I can, I think I can....

I am toddler, watch me climb

What's the dealio?



What I'd Wear Wednesday: Monochrome

What I'd wear today if I could: an outfit like this one by Ralph Lauren, in white silk. Easy and breezy. Looks comfy. And mono- chromatic outfits are supposed to make you look taller.

Speaking of looking taller, though, I think I'd go with less-dressy shoes than the sandals in the picture -- say, like a wedge or espadrilles. (Espadrilles seem to be everywhere, by the way. Have you noticed? Or is it just me?)

I know there are perils to wearing white, especially when you're a mom, but I've mentioned before I don't think it's that big of a deal. Certainly not any more of a big deal than the khakis I wore today, which by 5 pm had been pocked with bubble solution, strawberries, dirt and grass. (The green kind that grows to make a lawn.)

All in a day's work.

Do you ever wear all one color?

PS: Jodifur wins the Jamba Juice gift card giveaway I posted about last week to celebrate one year of WIWW. Yay!


Monday, January 07, 2008

The power of a chewing toddler

This must be why he doesn't want to sleep....

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Symptom of motherhood

What does it mean when you're going to the bathroom and you wonder if you should blow your nose while you're sitting there or wait until you're done ... and then you decide to wait until you're done ... and then think that's selfish of you not to multitask?!

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

What I'd Wear Wednesday: One year old!

Can you believe there's been a whole year now of What I'd Wear Wednesday?! I can't, either, but here is my first post. I hardly missed a Wednesday, to boot.

To celebrate, I'd like to give away a $5 gift card to Jamba Juice. Smoothies don't have anything to do with fashion, I know -- but you can show you have good taste. (Get it? Good. Taste. Har. Har. Groan....) Just post your own WIWW, then leave a comment. I'll use random dot org to pick a winner.

On to the eye candy....

What I'd wear today if I could: this a-maz-ing top by Ella Moss at Anthropologie. Can you believe I only just discovered Anthropologie? I'd heard the name a zillion times but didn't get that it was a store -- I thought it was a designer.

See, I'm off to a good start this year already, having learned something new.

This is labeled a T-shirt, but -- come on -- I don't wear tees like this. This is romantic, feminine and fun. It's way more than a tee. And it comes in four colors.

I'd be tempted to pair it with this other Anthropologie find, an Odille skirt:

Fanciful and spring-y, I know, but it was in the 70s yesterday. So you can't blame me for thinking spring.

Let's see what you would wear this week if you could!