Sunday, July 31, 2011


It's natural (and healthy, I'm told) to have well established routines for certain parts of the day. For us, our night-time routine with Lucas just kind of happened. I mean, there are the "essential" things that need to be done. We start with a new diaper, putting on PJs, brushing teeth and all that really important hygeine stuff. I mean, that goes without saying.

It's the stuff that happens once we're on our way into his room that is fun. We almost always make him walk up the stairs himself, and we tend to count. It just kinda happens. Then we get into his room, and he runs and jumps onto the changing pad that is on his floor. It used to be on a dresser, as a changing table, but we don't really use it anymore. He likes it, so we leave it.

Then we pick him up, and we feed his Beta fish "Freddie" that he got for his 2nd birthday. We used to turn on his safari animal light and talk about all the animals and their sounds, but it got recalled so a new routine was born.  So after Freddie has his "crackers", as Lucas calls them, I nuzzle him a bit, give him lots of kisses, and lay him in his crib. (More about his big boy bed soon). Then it's the parade of friends. First we tuck Monkey (photo below) under one arm, and baby under the other. Then Hop-Hop jumps from his toes, to his knees, to his tummy, and gives him a kiss before resting on his chest. He also has a pillow pet, two small square pillows, and his blankie. That sounds like a lot, but it's all small and honestly his bed looks pretty bare.

img via

Well, I ventured out last night for dinner with a friend that I hadn't seen in far too long. Monkey somehow came with me, wedged in the backseat of the minivan. I got a frantic call from John as we were leaving the restaurant,  @ 8:00. We've NEVER had to put him to bed without monkey (at home). He was inconsolable, but John insisted that I shouldn't cut my outing short. So back in the mall I went, in search of the perfect red lip stain. I left around 8:30, and was home by 9:05 to find a very upset, sweaty baby. He was clutching his Daddy's old monkey, but quickly dropped it when I arrived with his good pal, Monkey.

Now, I realize, I need to find a duplicate of monkey. When I looked about a year ago I could only find one for about $30. I refuse to pay $30 for a freakin' Carter's snuggle blanket that retails for about $15. I realize it's discontinued, but COME ON! Well, I just found one today for $15.99. SOLD!

Best part of wake-up time?? Lucas saying "bye" to all of his bedtime pals. He says "Bye, fwwweends. Bye, Hop Hop, Bye Baby, Bye Pihhhow, Bye Bankee. Seeeeaa yaaataah!"
Hop Hop! (well very similar)

Blankie (DwellStudios for Target)

Pillow Pet!

Zanzibar Pillows via toysrus
Can you believe this is the only photo of these dolls?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Techy People, HELP??

Here are the essential facts:

  1. I know very little (aka nothing) about technology.
  2. I am on a very tight (nearly non-existant) budget.
  3. I need a new laptop for just school work.
Here are the laptop criteria and uses:
  1. Must have number pad !! (Accounting is 100x's harder without a number pad!)
  2. Must be able to do very basic internet surfing
    1. social media
    2. e-mail
    3. e-learning websites (angellearning if that helps)
  3. Must be able to run basic accounting software (ie quickbooks, and excel)
  4. Needs Microsoft office or equivalent
It would be ideal if it could also handle:
  1. Massive amounts of photos (not saving, i keep them on their sd cards - just viewing)
  2. Lightroom/Photoshop
  3. Adobe Illustrator
  4. Skype

Ok smart people... whattya got for me? 

Monday, July 25, 2011

The great cup hunt

Ok, Mamas. I seriously need your input here.

I am looking for a new cup for my son. My requirements are as follows:

  1. Must have a flip-straw
  2. Must be no leak
  3. Must be insulated for traveling with milk
Doesn't sound so difficult, now does it? 

Well here are the products that I have personally used, and one that my sister in law uses with snippets from my conversation with her this morning. Most of these were used before I came up with my cup-finding criteria. 

img via google products
My review: Awful. I bought 6 of these. Originally I bought them in combination with the cup below. I wanted the size of this cup, and the handle from the smaller cup, so I bought 6 of each. They were so cheap, I figured why not. The straw assembly is tough to put together, and flimsy at the same time. Also, the lack of insulation was the kicker for me. They also leak when dropped on their sides. No good.

2. Munchkin Mighty Grip Trainer Cup
img via google products
This cup was great when Lucas was a toddler. It didn't leak. It was a pain to line up the silicone "nipple" part with the plastic handle assembly. But it rarely leaked. My only complaint is that Lucas easily bit through the sippy part. I did get a solid year's use out of these cups, and for a cup training toddler I would definitely recommend them. Cheap and effective. Just how I like things!

img via
I bought these cups for two reasons. They were on sale at K-Mart, and we already replacement sippy parts that my sister in law gave us. I thought the silicone sippy assembly was sturdier, and that Lucas wouldn't be able to bite through them. I was wrong. I'm glad I only bought 3. They were not expensive, as far as baby gear goes, it just didn't meet my expectations.

Img via
I bought two of these water bottles, on an impulse buy, at Target last weekend. THey have been pretty good for juice/water, but I wouldn't really use them for milk. They are really big, and obviously very transparent. There is no insulation. Many of the reviews are negative, but I haven't had an issue with them. Lucas likes them, they've done well in the dishwasher, and for around $5 a piece, I am pretty content. Again, they just aren't right for "milk cups". So the search continues. 

5. Stainless Steel, no brand name, water bottle with straw - I bought a fairly generic looking water bottle from Wal*Mart last week. It was awful, and I got my $3 worth. It leaks all over the place, and when I got it home I realized it wasn't insulated. Waste of $3. 

img via google products
My sister in law has MANY of these for her kids. I assumed that she loved them, but I was wrong. She is very disappointed in them. Despite saying "dishwasher safe" on both the website, and the packaging when purchased, she was said to report that the bottom piece of plastic often melted and/or fell off of her FUNtainers after only a few washes. She sent MANY back to the manufacturer to be replaced. She also reported that her littlest guy (who is 6 months older than Lucas) has chewed threw many straw assemblies, and she has bought many replacements. She did not recommend that I buy them. She did say that the insulation qualities, and no-leak qualities were second to none. But for the price of between $12-20 per cup, she said it's not worth the lack of wash-ability. 

So Mamas? What do you use? Should I just suck it up and hand-wash the FUNtainers? HELP!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011


During a tweetversation tonight, I surprised myself by admitting my guilt about being a jealous wife. Now I want to know, WHY?!

I've always been self conscious. In past relationships my jealousy had gotten the better of me. Many times. I often sought the attention of boys whose attention belonged elsewhere to make myself feel better, which had quite the opposite effect. And did wonders for my reputation.

I've long since forgiven myself for the mistakes of the past. I was young, I didn't know who I was yet, and I was grasping for something to hold onto. Silly. Oh so common.

As I entered my relationship with my husband, we both aired ALL of our dirty laundry. On our second date. I mean... ALL of it. There was no stone left unturned. I learned quite a bit about his first love, and longest relationship (to that point). I'm glad he felt that he could tell me his feelings about the relationship, and he was quite candid. He told me how he felt at the time of the break-up, how he dealt with it, and how he felt about her as we entered our relationship. He has always been 100% honest with me, and I didn't feel jealous at all.

Well, at least not for the first few months. We would go out dancing, girls would make eyes at him, and I would be ok with that because he was (and IS) the most truly loyal person I had ever met. Honestly, even in the beginning, I think cheating would have hurt him more than it would have hurt me in the long term. What I mean by that is, he would hold himself more accountable for it than I would in the long run. I would find a way to blame myself, as most women do, but he would know that it was his decision and he would have to live with it. He just doesn't have it in him.

Then we went to a going away party for a friend of his that was moving to California. And guess who showed up? His first love. She had every right to be there, she was still friends with all of these people. I'll tell you, it was the most awkward thing in the world. He felt uncomfortable, and I felt even worse. They hadn't seen much of each other in the two years since their breakup, and I'd never met her. There was no introduction, we just kept our distance. I hated it, and it planted this seed of...doubt? I don't know what the word is, but I had this uncomfortable feeling about her. Like... there was a piece of the puzzles missing.

Of course, being nutty & jealous, (and I can't believe I"m admitting this publicly) I would periodically take a peak at her myspace page here and there. (Yep... this was before the days of facebook, y'all!) In time, my discomfort settled, and I kind of forgot about her. Her name still comes up here and there, and John has no problem answering questions about their relationship when I ask.

Then, a couple weeks ago, out of nowhere, the jealousy came back and hit me like a Mack truck. We had a friend over, watching old roller blade videos of John and his friends from high school. In the middle of one of the tapes was a skit that they did together, with other friends. The minute I saw her face, i was angry. I don't know why, but seeing them together, in a skit depicting family life, for the whopping 5 seconds (literally) that it was on, was too much for me to bear.

Am I afraid that there's someone else that could make him happier than I do? No... I don't think so. Not only has he told me that no one else could, but his family often tells me how well we fit together. We truly do compliment each other's personalities. That is not to say we don't have our problems, we have to work hard at our marriage, but we do it. And we do fairly well!
Am I jealous of what they had? Absolutely not. That relationship did not end well, and it deteriorated slowly before it finally ended. It was a bad situation, and I'm glad we are not like that.

So what is my issue? He's the love of my life. I'm the love of his. We are happy. We have it really good.
What is my issue with this girl? I'm never jealous when he gets hit on (many times) at work by Mommies dropping off their kids. In fact, I'm flattered when other women find him attractive and flirt with him.

Maybe I need to just watch all the skits, and get over it. I mean, seriously. GET OVER IT!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Being a Tattooed Mama

I'm not sure how or why I haven't written about this before, but here we are. The editors over at Babble put together list of Moms with tattoos and their feelings about them here .

First of all, I don't see any heavily tattooed Moms on the list, at least not visibly heavily tattooed. That is not to diminish their credibility or their opinions, I just feel that I'm coming from a totally different world. I mean, I can't really compare my full sleeve to Monica Bielanko's tiny little flower on her toe. (I chose Monica because I love her blog, and find her to be hilarious.)

So, how do I feel as a tattooed Mom? Well.. I feel a lot of different ways. I love my tattoos, and have every intention of getting more. I don't love how I'm treated as a tattooed person. Now, being treated differently was not a suprising effect of being tattooed. I completely expected it, and I thought long and hard about how I'd be treated once I had children. I was aware of the looks and snickering that would be possible, I wasn't prepared for the outwardly rude people of the world. I have a somewhat idealistic view of other people, and I live by a "live and let live" philosophy and I ignorantly expected the same respect from others.

Well, I was sadly mistaken. People have accused me of being a satanist, a gang member, violent/dangerous, and unintelligent. By far the most hurtful thing that I've been called is an "unfit" mother. Strictly based on my tattoos. I'm talking about a lady in a grocery store, who had never seen a BIT of my parenting skills.

People are often FLOORED when they actually speak to me and I'm a fairly well-educated, articulate, nice person. They expect, because of that tattoos, that I'm some backwoods hillbilly, or white trash whore. Nope, sorry.

I am a woman who wears many hats. I play the role of mother, wife, student, business owner, homeowner, family gal, and licensed preschool teacher. Yep. I have studied child development and psychology and have a Preschool Teaching Certification from the state of MA. But, since I enjoy a little art on my skin, I'm completely unfit to be a mother.

Come off of it, people. I don't regret my tattoos. I love my tattoos. I don't feel like I'm setting a bad example for my son (or future children). I was 21 years old when I started getting tattooed. I waited until I was old enough to make a responsible decision. I know that my tattoos are going to fade, and sag, but that's part of the beauty for me. Because they are on MY body, which will also be (and already is) fading and sagging.

Do I worry that my kids will want to be heavily tattooed? Nope. They can do what they want, once they are old enough to do so. In all honesty, I think kids rebel against what their parents do anyway, and since my husband and I are both heavily tattooed, I don't think my kids will be interested. But if they are, so be it. There are FAR worse things kids could be doing.

I will say that Lucas just recently discovered my tattoos. He never seemed to notice them before, but now that he can talk a little bit, he has been pointing out the various animals, and then running to ask Daddy if he has the same animals (he doesn't). I also think that as Lucas grows, he will not judge people so quickly after seeing how quickly we are judged. He doesn't bat an eyelash when we see people that look "different" in a store or in public. I've seen other kids nearly fall out of shopping carts pointing at my arm and yelling "Mama, colors!!!!". (I'm not offended by kids' curiosity, btw).

What are your thoughts on tattoos? Yay, nay? Why?

PS - expect a post very soon with a sketch of my next tattoo - if I can ever afford to get one.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday's Thrifting Treasures - July 14

I'm going to start a weekly (or possibly bi-weekly) post about my new love for thrifting. Ok, so the love isn't so new, but it's been a while since I was consistently looking for stuff.

My favorites from this week:
Activity Table - Retail $50+ , Thrifted for a mere $10!
Set of Gears was thrown in as an incentive!
Found @ The Blessing Barn- Bellingham, MA

Outdoor Toy Box - Retail: $60+, thrifted for $4. Yes you read that right, $4!
Found @ The Blessing Barn- Bellingham, MA

Vintage medallion necklace, I just likes the aesthetics of it.
Thrifted for a mere $1.50
Found @ Central Street ReSale

4 vintage clutches & one hand-made handbag.
Thrifted for $1 / each
Found @ St Vincent de Paul - Plainville

Love this top, belted
Thrifted for $3
Found @ Central Street ReSale

Same top, unbelted, still $3
Found @ Central Street ReSale

Delia's top & vintage skirt $1.25 each
needs to be ironed!
Found @ St Vincent de Paul - Plainville

I have a housewares-thrifting date with a good friend of mine coming up, and holy moly am I excited. I saw some AWESOME 50's style kitchen tables, and other great housewares for her new house. Can't wait!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Not sure how I feel about this

Male Breastfeeding

If you're like me, you've never even considered the possibility. In fact, at first glance, I'm immediately reminded of that scene in Meet the Parents, when Ben Stiller's character says "You can milk anything with nipples" to which Robert DeNiro's character replies "I've got nipples, Greg. Can you milk me?"

Well apparently that just may be possible. I'm not sure where I stand on the issue. Part of me feels defensive, and doesn't like the idea. I have always seen breastfeeding as a transitional period (FOR ME!) from having a child relying 100% on my body for sustenance, to relying simply on my breast and care taking, to eventually being about to feed oneself. To share that bonding experience, a very intimate bonding experience, with someone else makes me nervous.

But then I think... How selfish of me! I mean, part of the reason I stopped breast feeding was that I wasn't producing enough to keep up, and when I pumped I'd barely produce enough to bottle feed, and I felt guilty that John hadn't had the opportunity to feed his first child in the beginning weeks of his life. What if he could have breast fed to help me supplement? Wouldn't that have solved both problems? Well of course it would have, but does that mean I'd want John to breastfeed? I don't think so. Something about it is uncomfortable. I doubt that he'd even consider it. I suppose if it did interest him it would be something I would take into careful consideration. Like any other parenting decision, we'd have to weigh the pros and cons and make a decision together.  The whole thing has be pretty baffled, I must say.

How about you? What do you think about it?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Why do I blog?

I've spent a few moments thinking about that very question last night. I was at my SIL's house, with my other SIL and my blog came up. Neither of them were aware that I even HAD a blog, and they had a puzzled (but not negative) sort of "why" look.

I have no answer for that. I've always been a person that likes to put their feelings, thoughts and experiences into words. It's therapeutic for me. It helps me sort through my feelings. I have lots of posts that I don't post publicly because they concern family arguments or other sensitive material, but I write about it all.

I guess I started blogging for those reasons, but I continue blogging because it's a community of sorts. Now, I'm fully aware that no one (except for a chosen few - thanks-) actually read this, and I'm ok with that. I thoroughly enjoy reading other people's blogs, for the various topics that they bring to the table.

I read lots of different blogs. DIY blogs, thrifting blogs, fashion blogs, mommy blogs, daddy blogs, photography blogs, creative writing/poetry blogs, music blogs, book club blogs. I love it. I just enjoy reading other people's experiences, and I take something away from every post. It's a wonderful, pressure-free exchange of ideas.

Of course there are lots of "cons" to consider. Fights in the blogosphere are unfortunate and common. Sometimes, actually most times, the blog community is very reminiscent of high school. Just as in high school, I've settled into my quiet little "see it all" position. I don't push my blog, I don't advertise, but for my own reasons. I have no issue with other that do. I think it's great. I'm a quiet supporter and small contributor to the blogging community and I really enjoy it.

Today I spent an hour clicking around twitter to find new blogs, based purely on the "Who to Follow" & "More like...." suggestions. Here's a round-up...

Fema Mom - a collaboration. Very thought provoking, reminds me of an edgier Babble. This article is what hooked me. - I actually came across this through one of my favorite blogs, "Flux Capacitor

Harper's Happenings - Adorable baby, gorgeous Mama. Crafty, Thrifty, love it

Sometimes Sweet - Fashion loving Mama with a penchant for tattoos ( a girl after my own heart).

The Adventures of Ash and Rowe  another Mommy blog, single hairstylist Mama. Cutest babe.

ohdeardrea - I'm way late to this. I've seen Lauren & Adriana & The Hipster Dad(s)  tweeting with her, and I should have followed earlier. So jealous of this gal's style.

The Doe or the Deer - Simply adorable. Tattooed mommy, to two adorable kids, into fashion & photography.

Tick Tock Vintage - name says it all. The amount of envy I feel while reading through the first few posts, AHHH!

Seriously, all these ladies make me want a makeover! Someone hook me up with a few hundred bucks, a thrift store map of the country, an RV, unlimited gas/food, and send me on my way! Oh I may need a personal shopper unless John can tag along because he is a wonderful shopping partner. Seriously. Dude's got an eye for what would look nice on me!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


We took Lucas on a last minute trip to the drive-in last night. I was "so-so" about the whole idea. Really nervous. I was nervous about the bugs. I was nervous that he would meltdown and we'd have to pack up & go home and be embarrassed. We had a few friends, who don't have kids, coming with us and I'm always self conscious about being a burden since we're the ones with a kid in tow. Now, our friends would never mind, but I put all that pressure on myself. Stupid, I know.

But I worried for no reason. The bugs were fine, bug spray did it's job. Lucas played and played from 7pm until the movie started at 8:45. We had glow wands, and a beach ball, coloring books, crayons, bubbles, snacks. Basically, I packed everything but the kitchen sink to keep him occupied. When the movie started, Lucas & I climbed in the van, with our pillows and blankets and snuggled down. John & friends were sitting on the van seats on the ground. It worked out great. Lucas and I snuggled and he eventually fell asleep. I did too.

Of course we did not pick an age appropriate movie, but he didn't watch it anyway. We went for the experience. We went to see if we could. It was a lot of fun. I hope we get to go again, soon!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Lucas' Birthday Party

My camera died, about an hour into the party. Such a bummer. All that prep work, and no photos of Lucas enjoying cake. I did get photos of some of the details though, and I know that photos will trickle in from family members of the the next few weeks.

The theme:
    Lucas is obsessed with "The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That", which is a show on PBS kids. They sing a song (can be heard here), and Lucas loves it. He calls the show (and the Cat himself) "Go, GO!" There was no decision-making process in deciding a theme for his party. He's obsessed. I went yard-saling shortly after his obsession started and I picked up every Dr Seuss book I could find, and I got about 10, for a mere $3. He calls them "Go, GO books!". I think he really enjoyed that Go GO was the theme of his party. He has since learned to say "Cat in the Hat" and "Thing 1 & Thing 2" but still prefers his own name!

The Food:
   Ok, so I wasn't really feeling like cooking this year. Last year, if I remember correctly, we had a full-on cookout. Which resulted in John not being able to visit with anyone because he was grilling. The whole time. This year, I put my foot down. I said NO cooking. We ordered pizza from the only local pizza place that has sheet pizza with egg-free dough. One of our nephews has an egg allergy and I always make a point to have as many egg-free items as possible. This year is 100% egg free! Yay! In addition to pizza, we had a garden salad and a pasta salad. A simple, yet yummy little lunch. My sister-in-law also brought a nice fruit salad!

The "cake":
    We are not big "cake" people, in the traditional sense anyway. So this year I opted to keep with our theme and make "thing 1 & thing 2" cupcakes. I used a recipe from the lovely Lauren (you can find her here), who was gracious enough to give me a delicious vegan chocolate cupcake recipe. YUM! Again, I had to be egg-free, hence the vegan recipe. We also ordered an ice cream cake from DQ. This is our typical "go-to" for parties because it's the only ice cream cake with no egg! (Crazy, right?)

The goodie bags:
    I'll admit it. I'm a cheap-ass. I mean, super cheap-ass. I hate spending money on things like goodie bags, but this year I had to. Last year, I threw some bubbles & candy in a bag and that was that. This year, I learned my lesson. I needed to find goodie bag items that doubled as activities for the kids. We had 3 babies under 1 (ok, one turned one last week), 4 kids around 2 years old, and 5 kids over hte age of 5. Weird age range, hard to entertain. Our yard is TINY. It run the length of our house (front to back) but is only about 15 feet wide. We have a small swingset in the back, and the party was held in the driveway. I bought cheap ($1 for all!) red lunch bags and drew a hat on them & labeled them with each childs name. I got some toys, bubbles, candy, and most importantly WATER GUNS, for all the kids. Little effort, a total of $25-30, and a bunch of happy kids. Works for me!

The decorations:
     I didn't decorate at all last year. There was no theme. This year I bought all red & white & black things to go with our Cat in the Hat theme. Since Lucas' birthday is 4 days before 4th of July, red & white stripes are not so tough to find! I had a blast. Streamers, and table cloths. So fun! I think I spent about $20 on all the paper goods and decorations, but it made a big difference (if only to me!)

My brag-worthy moment:
     John and I spent a solid week making these stand-ins. And man did we do it in the WRONG order. John drew the characters onto 3 pieces of plywood. Then I had the painstaking task of priming the characters, then the background. I painted Thing 1 & Thing 2, and John painted the Cat in the Hat. It took a long time! But we had a blast working on an art project together, despite the fact that it took over our kitchen for a solid week. We put it all together on Friday morning, made a frame to hold it up, and cut the face-holes on Saturday morning. I'm pretty impressed with our work! I think we're going to do one each year, but in a far more efficient way. This whole project cost us about $25, because the wood was re-purposed wood from the skate park. We only had to buy paint, and we could have spent FAR less money if we didn't buy such a large amount of paint & if we had a good supply of paint brushes. We had a blast!

Our goofy, very happy family :)

Lucas & his 2 cousins from my side of the family

My Nana (Lucas calls her Nana A. A is for Aitken) was even able to get in a photo, in her wheelchair!
Before we cut out the faces....