Sunday, May 31, 2009

I Love You for Sentimental Reasons

Fly last fall; MissVivi quick page

When I started Growing A Life two and a half years ago, there was no way I could have imagined I would be where I am now -- that the blog would be where it is now. I didn't imagine the friends I would make, the tears of sadness or hysterics you would make me cry, the way I would feel like a better mother for spending time online consuming everything you've written about teething, breastfeeding, tantrums, making sacrifices, watching your babies sleep and falling in love with them every day in a million ways. Blogging -- mainly reading your blogs -- has been a lifesaver and something that keeps me going especially on days when nothing good seems to be happening or when nothing seems to please my high-energy, strong-willed but kind-hearted Fly.

As he grew more independent, last year I started another parenting blog more about our region of the world, as many of you know. (Hi, dual readers!) It has been great to have another place to write about being a mama, Fly's antics or just everyday life. That blog has surprisingly taken on a life of its own, earning me a "Blog of the Day" award from my local newspaper and especially the Nickelodeon Parent's Picks Awards nomination for our region.

Blogging here and there has been fun but also challenging. It's been hard to keep up with who knows me from which blog, how frequently have I posted where and what I said where. I know I've confused more than one of you with my split blog personality. With my baby coming less than a month from now, I know I will want to give him or her -- and JP and Fly -- my attention and not just sit at the computer. That wouldn't make for good blogging anyway.

So I decided Growing A Life will be my more personal blog -- which it already is. I probably won't post as often, but this is where I'll have baby pictures! And Fly photos! And more private news to share. So this blog isn't going anywhere. I'm too sentimental to banish my first love.

If you want to follow me to the other blog, though, I'd be so happy. Hope you'll stop by.

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Overdue thanks

I feel bad that I don't think I ever mentioned a couple of bloggy contests I won earlier this year!

From Tracey at Just Another Mommy Blog, I won a coupon for a free meal at Sweet Tomatoes, a nice, casual salad bar-type restaurant that serves healthy, fresh food. Fly loves it, too.

And from Heather at Cool Zebras (through her Zoo Review blog), I won a MilkBank breast milk storage and feeding system. This will be handy if the little Junebug is as good a nurser as Fly was.

Just last week, I also won a Curly Hair Solutions kit from Stephanie at Metropolitan Mama. Every once in a while, I let my hair stay curly.

I feel so lucky!

Umm.... I didn't miss anyone, did I?


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What I'd Wear Wednesday: Carolina Herrera Jr.

What I'd wear today if I could: a perfect outfit like the one Carolina Herrera Jr. is wearing in this photo from the holiday issue of defunct Domino magazine. This magazine was the only one worth flipping through on a recent OB/GYN appointment. (Yes, I said recent. The issue was five months old. My doctor's waiting room has replaced all the magazines with flat-screen TVs, apparently. Gah! I'm a magazine junkie, people! Where else am I going to have child-free time to flip through magazines I don't get at home? You're slowly killing me with an illiterate death!) I figured because the mag was so old, no one would care if I took it home. Then I scanned in this amazing photo of the famous designer's daughter.

What I think is so amazing about the photo is despite the grand home behind her, Carolina could be anybody's mom. That could be any woman in my town carrying a baby and holding the hand of her toddler, walking down the driveway to get the mail or paper.

Of course, for the purpose of WIWW, I love what she's wearing. Simple jeans. A basic white shirt. A necklace or maybe two. Undone hair. But she still looks put together. She could wear that outfit just about anywhere, for almost any regular-mom occasion. I imagine she even smells good. Maybe in a few years I will even make this my uniform, or at least my go-to outfit. Everyone needs something to aspire to.

Are there any outfits / looks / clothing or accessory items you aspire to?

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Before the rain started up and kept on going right into the night, Fly and I went outside to plant a few flowers. He picked them out himself at the nursery -- red salvias, good for attracting butterflies. Excellent choice.

I asked him if he wanted to plant the flowers with me, and he happily followed me outside. I told him we had to dig holes in the dirt to put the flowers in. Fly chose a gardening tool and began to dig in the dirt near me. He uncovered some kind of larva, which scuttled away -- he wanted me to help him "rescue" the bug, and before long we couldn't see the dirt-loving creature anymore.

Digging a few holes was slow going for me. At 36 weeks now, it's hard for me to bend over for long periods of time. And it was hot. I'd dig for a while, stand up, wipe my brow, ask Fly how his digging was going and talk to him about plants. He got impatient and abandoned our effort. He looked for sticks, picked up fallen leaves, wanted to play with the children next door and was sad when they made only a brief appearance outside to get in their car and go somewhere with their mom.

"I want a different home," Fly said suddenly.

"You want a different home?" I asked. When I'm not sure what Fly is saying, I usually repeat it to make sure I understand him.

"I want that home over there," he said, pointing to the one next door where four children live. The family moved in about six months ago, found mold throughout the house and basically had to reconstruct it from scratch, top to bottom, inside and out. So basically, their house is brand new and looks amazing. Everyone is super nice, but we haven't really gotten to know the new neighbors yet.

Planting a few red flowers in the front yard -- and feeling I was doing a pretty lame job at that -- I felt sad Fly wanted a different home despite trying to make ours the best we can. I wanted to stop my digging and planting because I knew a few flowers couldn't measure up to a beautiful home full of children. And dogs.

It doesn't help that for weeks Fly has been saying, "I want to go home." When we are already home. When he is in his room -- when he is in his bed. How could you be any more at home than when you are in your own bed?

I know he's only two and a half and still learning to put together his thoughts and express himself through language, but it makes me worry. It makes me feel inadequate as a mother. How have I failed to provide Fly with the feeling of having a home and being home? What is he missing that makes him want to "be home" or have a different home? What will he think when the baby arrives and turns our home tospy-turvy for a while?

Fly didn't want to help me put the flowers in the holes once I had dug them, didn't want to help water them as he usually would and he seemed relieved to finally go back inside when we were done.

I was relieved, too, to leave the flowers outside in their own new home -- but wondered if they would be as unsatisfied as Fly seems to be.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What I'd Wear Wednesday: Wedding-guest wear

Today's What I'd Wear Wednesday comes from Lane at Mommylog, who just had a baby two months ago. (Check out the Bustin' out Babies list!). She shows you can be a new mom and have great style.

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I will be attending a wedding in Charleston, S.C. coming up in a week and half. We live in Minnesota and this is my first trip with 2 kids in tow. I am trying to think simple and polished. I have been looking at dresses, that travel well and I can easily nurse my 8 week old baby gal in. The wedding is taking place on a Friday night. I think black or navy would work for the occasion. Here is what I have found thus far.

This dress from Macy's seems like a good pick, it should cover up my "problem areas" and still is hip.

Dress by Shabby Apple. I love everything Shabby Apple! If you have not checked out their site or looks you are missing out. This dress is one of my favorites and called the tuxedo dress seems like a perfect pick for a special event.

Finally, because I really want a maxi dress, I had to find a cute one to possibly wear to the wedding. It is from forever 21.

In reality, I will end up wearing some pants and a cute top that I can lift up. I am in love with this ruffle top. I think it will be the best option for the circumstances.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

35-week belly bump

Me and the baby after a shower, so you get to see me with my hair in a lazy half-bun. Yay, you.

Am I naturally that pink and just have a tan everywhere besides my belly? Or is that one super-pink baby belly?

I almost forgot to post this! The time is flying by. I've been posting belly photos every five weeks (starting at week 20). With that schedule, the next time you might see the actual baby!


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Haircut -- THE haircut

This was my little boy yesterday.

When he had cute little surfer-boy hair trimmed by me only a few times.

I know he needed a real haircut, though. Even though he was quite unhappy about it.

Quite unhappy.

Unfortunately, the stylist didn't speak English as a first language, and I'm not sure she understood what I wanted. But I am sure I've seen this haircut on middle-aged women -- full on top, tapered on the bottom.

Hair grows back, right?


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Oh Happy Day -- a music giveaway!

I remember the first time I heard a song by Jonny Lang. I was with a group of co-workers in a car going to lunch. (It feels like a million years ago.)

"Oh, this is that guy!" one of them said. "He's 16 years old."

"Sixteen?!" someone else said. "It sounds like he's been smoking and drinking Jack for 40 years."

I was intrigued and had to check him out -- a 16-year-old blues singer. Jonny Lang was popular that year. Since then, JP and I have seen him in concert a couple times. We also ended up buying all of his CDs, including his most recent, a gospel album, Turn Around.

So it wasn't a surprise when I found out Jonny Lang and several other artists have worked with gospel choirs to put together Oh Happy Day: An All-Star Music Celebration, which was given to me to review. But I was surprised to see a few of the others on the list, like 3 Doors Down and Jon Bon Jovi! Michael McDonald, Queen Latifah (who sings the title track), Robert Randolph, Al Green and Joss Stone are also on the album, which includes songs like People Get Ready, This Little Light of Mine and Bob Marley's Redemption Song. Some songs, like Jonny Lang's and Michael McDonald's, are filled with passion and energy, and others -- like Queen Latifah's -- are peaceful and calming songs. All of them are what I like to call feel-good songs! You can listen to the songs here.

If you like gospel or any of the headlining artists, Oh Happy Day is a great addition (oops! I almost typed addiction!) to your collection and can be found at iTunes, Amazon and Walmart.

The nice folks at EMI Music/Vector Recordings who provided the review copy also gave me a copy to give away! If you'd like to win, leave a comment mentioning your favorite gospel song or artist, or your favorite song by one of the headlining artists. I'll pick a winner randomly on Friday.

Update: chose the number 1, and Chelle was the first commenter, so she wins the CD!

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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Passed down from Mom

Today is my mother's birthday. And tomorrow, of course, is Mother's Day. (Every so often, her birthday and Mother's Day are on the same day.)

She and my sister are here from out of state for a visit, so I get to treat them both a little bit. I have a little surprise planned for her tonight, actually!

I have briefly blogged here before about the ups and downs in my relationship with my mother, Cammy. When I was young, she wasn't especially interested in active parenting. My grandmother took care of me until she died. As soon as I was old enough by state law, I went to live with my dad.

For about 12 years, Cammy and I didn't communicate. Then after the Sept. 11 attacks, I got a letter from my sister. She broke the ice for Cammy and me. We slowly started get to know each other again. I learned about the healing power of forgiveness. My mother and I will probably never have a super close mother/daughter relationship, but we enjoy getting together a few times a year (despite the distance). We can laugh and have a good time together. There's definitely love there.

What's remarkable to me is that despite our troubles and our long time spent apart, when my mother and I (and my sister) are together, we laugh about how similar we are to one another. Even if my mother was often short on nurture when I was growing up, the nature aspect of parenting has definitely come through.

Physically, I'm a taller, darker-colored version of my mother. (Why couldn't I have gotten her pale green eyes? "Green eyes aren't photogenic," she once told me.) I have her broad shoulders, plump toes and unruly hair. I'm just now starting to recognize something of her voice in mine -- the sound as well as the expressions. We like a lot of the same foods.

Even though our personalities are different, it's a comfort to me to know someone is a bit similar to me and understands me (which I often didn't get from my stepmother). A feeling of belonging -- no matter how faint -- is a loving thing to pass on to your child. And that's what I have with Cammy.

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This post is part of the Parent Bloggers Network Mother's Day Blog Blast sponsored by JOHNSON'S. Their second annual Celebrity Hand Me Down charity auction runs from 7 pm PT on Thursday May 7 through 7 pm PT on Thursday May 14, featuring items donated by celebrity moms Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Alba. All proceeds will benefit the new global JOHNSON'SĀ® NO MORE TEARSĀ® Clean Water initiative via their well-known charitable giving site, Baby Cause.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

What I'd Wear Wednesday: Stylish but lazy

What I'd wear today if I could: these scrumptious tie-dye sandals from Victoria's Secret.

I haven't had the time, desire or inclination to go looking for any fashion goodies lately. I am lazy. But when catalogs keep coming in the mail, I still can't tear my eyes away. Even when I know I won't be able to wear most of the stuff for months.

However, I have found myself staring at these shoes probably a dozen times. They make me crave rainbow sherbet. And I hate sherbet. With a four-inch heel, they're a bit out of my comfort zone right now. Priced at $125, they're also out of my budget. I wouldn't spend this much on a pair of shoes ... but a mama can dream.

The same VS catalog also had this tasty-looking tee:

I love everything about it: the spicy color, the fun studs, the perfect pleating, the loose sleeves and especially the loose middle. With about six weeks of pregnancy left, I am all about a loose middle (and actually will have a loose middle. Abs of steel? Right!)

The fun Alloy catalog also arrived and had me looking over these:

I could actually wear these seashell sandals. And they're $30.

The three-tier look of this necklace is so fun. It's the kind of jangly thing I couldn't possibly wear once the baby can start grabbing things like jewelry and hair ... I guess I figure it would be cool to wear something like this now while I can.

So even though I am lazy and -- ahem -- living large, it's fun to window shop.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

More new babies

And the babies just keep on coming! I was way behind in updating the Bustin' Out Babies list. There are four delicious new babies, though -- feel free to check them out!

There are only two moms left on the list who haven't given birth yet -- me, and then Chelle. So if you're expecting and want to be on the list, please let me know. Or if you know someone who's about to have or adopt a baby, please send them my way.


Sunday, May 03, 2009

A more simple joy

Artist's self-portrait

As I reflect on the past week and the simple joys it brought, I find I am still amazed at this little boy who wasn't even a being three years ago. There was no child in our house for almost 12 years, and then he appeared "from a little dust and a little rain."

And it's going to happen again, next month -- a baby born out of a miracle, out of love.

I feel guilty on the days I am too tired or sick or achy or pregnant to play with Fly the way he deserves. But I'm thankful for days when I have the energy to do fun things with him.


I feel guilty for not blogging or reading blogs because I just can't, but then I remind myself, once again, this is supposed to be fun and not another chore hanging over my head.

So I take whatever I can get out of each day, and go with that. Each day is a blessing, and you can't get a more simple joy than that.

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