Archive for the ‘The Rest’ Category

Best Weekend of the Year 2014

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

They changed the name of Taste of Mystic to Mystic Eats, but besides that it’s the same weekend we’ve had for 3 years now. And it was just as delicious and fun now as it always is. (For reference: Post from 2012, Post from 2013. I am once again really please with how my photography has really improved. This year’s photos are in focus!)

Greek Food Festival:

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Ledyard Fair (free rides Saturday 9-10 am! Every year!):

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Taste of Italy:

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Mystic Eats:

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New Mom Advice: Get A Thing

Monday, September 15th, 2014

When I was pregnant with Evan oh those many moons ago, I first discovered blogging. I mean, I “discovered” it the same way Columbus “discovered” America, since there was already an entire world of people who were like “Nice going, you found this big giant thing that’s been here for a long ass time”. But for me, it was all new and exciting. I wrote words on the internet. Then I moved up to pictures. I found other people’s words and pictures. I blogged and blogged and talked about blogging and read articles on blogging and read actual blogs and when I found one I liked I’d stalk their archives back to the birth of their children and I know more about some of those people than I do about my own siblings’ lives.

Blogging was My Thing.

My Thing kept me connected to people when I was too tired to get off the couch. It gave me something to think about when I couldn’t think about my crying baby any more. I learned the shorthand and the big players and the culture and made friends who I still talk to literally every single day. The internet connected us but I’ve now hugged them in person and slept on their couches and can’t wait to see them again.

If I could give pregnant women one piece of actual, helpful, universal advice, it is to get A Thing.

Obviously your baby will be Your Thing, but there is a lot of busywork with babies. You are up with them in the middle of the night, you are trapped on the couch feeding them, you are so so so tired you can’t even sleep. You need A Thing you can read about and think about and learn about and talk about. Thanks to the internet, it’s easy to find other people who share Your Thing and also want to obsess about it, so you’ll never run out of ways to waste your time. Even if Your Thing is something you can’t really do as much as you’d like, you can still obsess about it online. Like running. There are about fifty zillion ways to learn about running that don’t actually involve running.

Here is a brief list of Things you might try: blogging, photography, baby wearing, cloth diapers, knitting, crocheting, breastfeeding, scrapbooking, gardening, knitting, couponing, crafting, cooking, conspiracy theories, tv, computer games, video games, puzzles, art, eBay, Etsy, painting, sewing, puzzles, running, paleo, cross fit, hair, make-up, monthly subscription services, fashion, YouTube, nail polish.

Any of Those Things have a million deeper levels and sub-levels. Not just cloth diapers, custom-made WAHM diaper covers. Not just Etsy, handmade baby moccasins. Not just running, long distance marathon training. Find a Facebook group or forum about Your Thing and dive in. Don’t worry, you will never know more about your thing than ANYONE else, so just start somewhere.

Most Things are going to cost you a lot of money. Even if they seem cheap and harmless now, there is a collectible version or a new version or a fancier version or an exclusive version and you WILL want it and you WILL find yourself spending what previously would have been a crazy amount of money on it.

Try to find a way to get involved in Your Thing in real life too. Meet-ups, conferences, swaps, or even just one friend you can have coffee with. But even if you just have internet friends from Your Thing, they will easily become real friends (just not in-person all the time friends).

You can have more than one Thing at a time, but it’s best to focus on one and then let it become less intense while you move to another. I still tweet, but Twitter isn’t my go-to Thing. I can still knit, but I don’t hunt down a babysitter to go to the weekly knitting group. Photography will always be A Thing (your thing can often lead to an actual business), but the forums aren’t holding my interest they way they used to.

Clearly blogging is something I still love and do regularly (well, semi-regularly) but it is not longer my thing. Currently, My Thing is woven wraps for baby wearing. For real. I’m just now discovering baby wearing goes far beyond the Moby and the Ergo. Waaaaaaaay beyond. Insanely beyond. I’ve joined four different Facebook groups and formed a real-life wrap group that meets every other Friday (which was easy to do, thanks to mama friends I met through Stroller Strides, which was My Thing a few years go). I can browse the Facebook swap group any time of day or up at night with the baby and there’s new stuff to look at that I can google and learn about fiber content and warp and weft and brands and makers. It’s INSANELY boring to anyone who doesn’t care but right now I can’t get enough.

So tell me what’s Your Thing? Just don’t make it too interesting, I don’t have time for much more.

 

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First Day of School 2014

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

I think I forgot to do the questions last year. I’m not even sure I took pictures of Caroline’s first day – I can’t find the post. But this year was a big year for both kids. Caroline started taking a BUS to a big school EVERY DAY and Evan started FULL DAY kindergarten so I took the time to look up the questions from 2 years ago and did it again. Plus Caroline REALLY wanted me to ask her what her favorite food was for some reason.

The first couple of days have been amazing for them and crazy stressful for me. Our school district buses everyone and encourages us to take advantage of the buses. Both schools (Caroline is at the special pre-K-only building, Evan’s at the magnet elementary school a few miles away) have very limited parking and no drop-off area for parents, just buses. I WANT the kids to take the bus. But the bus system is, to put it nicely, crap. The bus numbers we were given – the official ones, the ones printed on their tags – are not ACTUALLY their bus numbers. No one is actually sure why. Every bus has been late. Caroline’s morning bus was the least late, only 5 minutes. Evan’s afternoon bus was 45 minutes late the first day and 75 MINUTES LATE the second day. He was somehow put on the wrong bus on the wrong route and then taken back to the school and…you know what? I don’t want to talk about it. It was crappy. I was pissed. But the school handled it, he made it home no worse for the wear.

Both kids love their teachers, both kids love their uniforms, both kids love their new backpacks, both kids had zero tears or worries about leaving me. I am completely amazed I grew 2 little people who are so confident and outgoing and brave. I am also REALLY happy I have one little person at home who still needs me constantly so I don’t have time to be too depressed about the big kids. BIG KIDS. LOOK AT HOW BIG THEY ARE.

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This is her face when she saw her bus coming up the street.

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Life With 3: Update 1

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

It is 11:25 am and I am watching The Price is Right, which means life is really good right now. That’s how I judge my level of happiness: am I able to be home, eating a sandwich, between the hours of 11 and 12 so I can watch Drew Carey give away cars? Yes? Success!!

Tomorrow Linc will be 1 month old, and I’ll start doing monthday updates again. I have big plans to do a same-spot monthly photo like I did with Caroline’s tutu, but I am TERRIBLE at following through with stuff like that so we’ll see.

It turns out the hardest part of having three kids isn’t the third kid – it’s the first two. I thought I had done a really good job teaching Evan and Caroline to play on their own without needing me to intervene or referee much. But in reality I just didn’t realize how often I had to step in until I was stuck on the couch under a sleeping or nursing baby and couldn’t break up their squabbles. There has been a LOT more yelling than I like (and I’m not even strictly anti-yelling) just because I CAN’T walk into the other room and deal with them calmly. Caroline has started shouting “Moooooom Evan is TORTURING ME again!” and Evan shouts “DON’T COME UP HERE!” and then I have to stomp up the stairs while they both shout “NOOOOOO! We’ll be good! We promise!!!!” It’s fairly exhausting just to listen to them all day, plus the stomping is really rough on my knees.

Luckily, I only have everyone home for one more week before school starts. School itself is going to be a challenge – Evan’s bus comes REALLY early and I’m kind of nervous about how he’ll behave during a long ride to school – but the quiet I’m going to get while both big kids are gone is going to be life-changing. I can start blogging again. I can edit photos. I can finish knitting one of the 5 baby hats I’ve started but not finished. I can start taking pictures for other people so I can start saving up for the new lens I want.

And I can do ALL that stuff because Linc is a super easy baby. I have absolutely NO delusions this has anything to do with me or my parenting whatsoever. It’s luck. Just luck. Maybe there’s a little truth to the idea that because I’m not tense and nervous and stressed the baby isn’t tense and nervous and stressed, but that’s anecdotal at best. I know plenty of people whose second or third baby was WAY more high-needs than the first one. I just got an easy one this time, for which I am unbelievably thankful. With E gone almost all the time I would be seriously, SERIOUSLY losing my mind if I had an inconsolable, colicky baby.

The day my mom left me alone with all 3 kids I looked around and realized my house was clean and organized, and if I could just MAINTAIN that current level I could avoid a disaster. I’ve been doing really well – right now there’s only one load of laundry not put away and all the dishes are in the dishwasher – but I’ve given up on the kids’ room. Until they go to school and I can spend a good 3+ hours in there purging it’s hopeless. Luckily the rest of the house is still in good shape, so I can just shut their door and ignore it. I’m also ALMOST done with Linc’s nursery – I still haven’t ordered the crib and I need my husband to build me a shelf – and I’m really excited to share it.

Now I have a very important episode of House Hunters: Where Are They Now? to watch while I make a grocery list and a meal plan and enjoy this slightly annoying update while I can. I feel like the next one (after the 6 am wake ups and lunch packing and school drama) will be…much less smug.

 

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6 Totally Reasonable Tips For Road Tripping With A Newborn

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

1. Buy the right car seat.
There are no actual guidelines for what constitutes “right”, so be sure to read lots and lots and lots of reviews on Amazon. 200 at least. And don’t bother reading the 197 positive 5 star reviews – sort by 1 star and be sure to take VERY SERIOUSLY the three people who HATED that particular seat because their baby got stung by a bee while sitting in it. What kind of MONSTER doesn’t buy a bee-repelling car seat? Also take into consideration what color your baby’s eyes will be and order a seat in a color that really makes them pop. Since you need a car seat to bring your infant home from the hospital and cannot actually SEE your baby’s eyes before it is born, you will definitely buy the wrong seat. Wow, you didn’t even make it to the end of the first tip. You should probably stay home.

2. Pack lots of snacks.
You will have to stop a lot of times to feed your newborn, because newborns are lazy and refuse to just feed themselves pretzels and Twizzlers like everyone else does on road trips. But don’t expect you will actually get to eat or drink ANYTHING when you stop. This is not your time, this is BABY’S TIME. It doesn’t really matter what kinds of snacks you bring, since you’ll be blindly shoving it into your mouth while keeping your eyes on the road. I recommend crunchy things – the sound of yourself chewing helps drown out the screaming from bee stings.

3. Avoid traffic.
Since I am sure usually you enjoy sitting through construction, accidents and other acts of God you have no control over, actively avoid those things when you have a newborn traveling with you. If you cannot see into the future and/or predict traffic slow downs, invest in a psychic or perhaps a hoverjet.

4. Wear your baby.
OBVIOUSLY¬†not while you’re driving, but at some point you will need to pee. It is easier to do so when you don’t have to also hold a baby with your arms and hands. Just like the car seat, it is important that you buy the RIGHT baby carrying device. Check out the lively world of online parenting message boards, which are not at all full of people screaming at each other over which kind of baby carrier is the best. Remember, a $600 organic hand woven sling is clearly superior to the kind you can just borrow from a friend, because the more something costs the more babies like it. This is why all babies prefer those wooden black and white educational toys to the car keys you just dropped in the parking lot.

5. Bring help.
Consider hiring the following people: nanny, wet nurse, car seat installer, personal chef, therapist, barista, and driver. Since bring ALL those people would require a much larger car than you probably own, try to find help who can multitask – there’s no reason someone can’t make you a latte while nursing your baby. If you have to bring just ONE person, your spouse will be fine. I guess. Can they make coffee?

6. Order the correct baby.
Did you get one of those newborns that hates riding in the car? An unreasonable baby that doesn’t sleep in 4+ hour chunks right from the beginning? Does your infant take hours to eat instead of efficiently chugging their milk/formula? Unexplained screaming? Poopsplosions? Colic? Clearly your baby is defective. Check your warranty paperwork to find out where to get your baby repaired. If you cannot locate your paperwork (people often seem to misplace it) send me $500 and I can get the Department of Perfect Children to mail you another copy. It’s no problem, happy to help.

Now you are ready for your road trip! It should be a very fun and relaxing activity, with lots of good opportunities to take and share beautiful Instagram photos of yourself in your adorable yet casual driving clothes standing on the beach or in front of a quaint farm stand or local landmarks. Remember to take at least one where you breastfeed in a field while staring peacefully into the distance, to prove you are a good mother. Good luck to you and your baby!

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