Archive for the 'Fam Fun' Category

The Tails of Abbygail, Episode 1: Dreams Come True

amoc1hcc8o3ijyamcbf3What little kids don’t daydream their favorite toys will come to life? Movies have been built around  such youthful fantasies (“Toy Story,” anyone?). Abbygail, a spunky little Jack Russell terrier, is no exception.

In the newly released live-action DVD, “Tails of Abbygail: Dreams Come True,”  the protagonist pup Abbygail watches her ultimate dream come true as her toy dogs and horses – including a cotton candy pink poodle, two giant draft horses and a Bernese mountain dog adorably named “Girlfriend” – magically come to life and embark upon an exciting journey with her. Along they way, they meet new furry faces and learn important, relevant lessons relatable to children ages 2-10.

My four-and-a-half year old son went on this 34-minute adventure with Abbygail and her canine and equine companions, completely enchanted with the storyline. When asked who his favorite character is, he naturally said “Abbygail,” and that his favorite parts were when the gang found treasure and threw a party.

The fun continues with four more episodes from the award-winning “Tails of Abbygail” series. For more, visit weloveabby.com and be sure to like facebook.com/thetailsofabbygail on Facebook!

Milestones and Musings

The cousins Christmas portrait was a bust. Nothing a meme can't fix!

The cousins Christmas portrait was a bust. Nothing a meme can’t save, though, amiright? Totally showing this to Delilah’s first love interest, BTW. “Hey Delilah, memba when you were a drooly old man? Lol!” Click for the gif.

Fair warning: This is another one of those looong, all-over-the-place posts. It’s not too late to resume facebooking (or whatever you were doing).

And They All Went the F to Sleep … 31 Days Later

I use the term “milestone” loosely when discussing a one-month old, but last night I got decent sleep (which I consider a milestone) because Delilah slept like a champ – up only twice to eat and went down without a bunch of drama and noisemaking. But it took some planning. J stayed up till after midnight with her forcing her to stay awake so she’d be tired once they went upstairs. I don’t remember us having to work this hard to get sleep with Ollie, but I am certain I have baby amnesia because I forgot like 75 percent of what it’s like to have a newborn and am continuously like, “Really, dude?!”

Mostly, though, I’m super-duper smitten with this child. Even when she is up for a three-hour stretch in the middle of the night griping about nothing, I’m like, damn. We’re lucky. Not to mention, I know it could be worse. I don’t even wanna know about colic.

Speaking of sleep, she’s also been napping in her big girl crib in her room. That makes me happy seeing her among her forrest creature friends in the nursery. And a little sad because that means, yup, another milestone.

What else? She also hit the 10-pound mark (and 23 inches), and is hella strong holding up that noggin and flexing those stems. Hercules! Hercules! Hercules!

Here, Feel Like a Superhero for a Few Days. Then Imma Take it Away Like *Poof*! You’re Welcome. Signed, Hormones

You might recall in my previous post boasting about having super-human energy (especially for a new mom on zero sleep recovering from a c-section), plus weight loss like wut. Yeah, that is over, folks. I’m tired. Requiring my morning coffee again. Some of that weight that magically disappeared, magically returned. Not much, but enough that I’m on notice. Which also kind of sucks because I’m nursing and not supposed to be calorie counting. Oh, the paradox!

Which brings me to the fact that I was totally warned about all of this (although not by my OBGYN or all the Dr. Google’ing I’ve been doing about EVERYTHING under the natal sun). No, it was another mom who enlightened me.

So before we had Delilah, I reached out to a friend who, like me, has two kids and writes for a living. She’s a freelancer working from home and I wanted to see how she pulled it off because that’s my goal. She emailed me some amazing advice – down to earth and honest with a dose of funny, just what I needed, but I put off reading it because I got distracted by, um, being a new mom. There was one part in particular I regret not reading sooner. She warned me about the adrenaline/hormone boost you get right after birth and how even though it’s tempting, don’t’ give in. SLEEP. SLEEP, damn it! But I didn’t. And here I am. But it’s getting better.

Silver lining: that little boost came in handy when I was putting out a magazine FOUR days earlier than our normal deadline – just weeks after I was home from the hospital. If you call me supermom or wonderwoman or whatever, I promise not to be all modest about it. I summoned some gritty, primitive part of myself to make this happen, but that’s what you do when you want something bad enough. Or multiple things, in my case. And I’ll do it again. And every time I do it, it, too will get better.

I’m Sorry to Every Mom I’ve Judged for LHIP (Looking Haggard in Public)

Moms can be mean. Harsh. Judgey. Sometimes I’ll see a mom that just looks, um, beat. I think, man, just put some lipstain on or something. Comb yo hair. Lose the sweats. Put on some jeans, lady. But you know what? It’s not always that simple. Life goes on despite your desire to look and feel human.

Sometimes you have to go to the pediatrician looking like you just rolled out of bed (because you did. Because you were up half the night). Sometimes you go to family functions in a button-up flannel instead of that cute, new sweater because it’s easier to nurse with a button-up. Not that you’re doing it in front of everyone (because that’s taboo!), but still. It’s about function.

Sometimes you put off getting your hair did because there’s no time, or let’s face it, no money. It’s not that you don’t care. It’s not that you are oblivious that you have 2-inch roots. It’s not that you’ve given up. You haven’t given up, but there are greater needs and there’s a bigger picture and you know someday you will be your bad bitch self again, skinny jeans and all. Or you tell yourself that, anyway, to get through another day of sweats and spitup.

Seriously, though, being a parent is rough and we have to be easier on moms and dads. From now on, when I see a haggard mom (or look in the mirror), I’ll remember we’re doing the toughest job on the planet (no joke. Oprah knows what’s up) and we’re getting important shit done.

Time for My Guys

I know I can’t give Ollie equal time these days, but you better believe when we’re one on one, I make it count. Like last night during his bedtime, J was at band practice and Delilah was snoozing, so it was just the two of us. I loved curling up with him in his bed and, get this, reading WITH him, not to him. When did THIS happen?!

I remind him how proud I am of him. How big he is. How he’s my “sunshine” and my “best guy.” I indulge his goofy 4-year-old questions (they are endless), I applaud his sometimes hapless efforts to be independent,  but I also keep him in check if he’s pushing his luck. Because you can’t slack on the discipline as difficult as it can be to dish out to a preschooler when an infant needs you.

I thought it would be impossible to share love, attention, pride, joy, etc., between kids. I could not fathom it, right up until the day Delilah arrived. The good news is, you relish both kiddos for different reasons, at different times – sometimes together all at once. And there are moments when both are crying bloody murder and you’re just like fuckthisshit! And that passes.

You might be wondering how my relationship is going with the guy who got me into all of this trouble: J. I don’t know what to say other than, correction: Single moms, you have the toughest job on the planet. And to the people who help single moms – you are soooo awesome.

Having a partner keeps me sane at 3 a.m. when the baby is on her third hour of utter neediness and I want to sleep in the car; makes me laugh despite all the chaos and drama even though my face is too tired to smile; relieves me even if it means he has to stay up WAY late on a work night to entertain/wear out the baby; and takes Ollie pretty much everywhere with him and does his bedtime routine almost every night so I can care for the baby. In addition to all of this (and more), this past weekend, he managed to deck out the house – inside and out – with Christmas, pretty much all by himself (with Ollie’s supervision). I never think I care about Christmas decorations, but they instantly make me all fuzzy and gah when I see them. 

As for how J’s taking to fathering a baby girl, let’s just say a) he’s head over heels in love (naturally) and b) Delilah, you’re going to need ninja skillz if you ever want to hang out with boys before you’re 30. Sorry, but also, you’re welcome.

Hey-ee-ay-ee-aaay, What’s Goin’ On?

Clockwise: Going to see my husband J’s band play at seven-plus months pregnant \m/; the baby at six months; J and Ollie on our nature hike yesterday; Ollie playing in the autumn leaves; total big brother material; the nursery is coming along – forest buddies theme.

I’ve been working on this post for more than a week. It’s been a whirlwind caring for a sick kid, then getting sick myself, being super busy at work, running around making social engagements, feeling like I have a deadline to get all of the things done before the new baby on November 2. I’m sure there’s a frazzled-looking cat meme somewhere that kind of says it all.

A lot of people ask how Ollie’s doing with the TBA baby. Mostly great. Ollie lays on my belly, pets it and talks to the baby. He was certain I’m having a girl for the longest time, but now he’s leaning toward boy. Although right now is also a little confusing and emotional for him, I think. He’s been more dramatic than usual about little things. That’s supposed to be MY JOB, amiright? I’ve been meaning to ask you guys with multiple kids if your child or children were a little “off” before the new baby was born – do you recall? It’s nothing that we can’t handle. We’re no stranger to the phases of a preschooler. BUT, it is heartbreaking when your kid is being all emo and not really mature enough to explain what’s up. It’s a delicate operation trying to get into a little kid’s head.

Speaking of emo, I’m a little emo these days, too (I know, my husband has it bad). Crying at Children’s Tylenol commercials (and THIS amazing, heart-string-pulling post), having wack dreams, kind of freaking out about the 25,398 things I need to do before my due date (mostly work-related). I’m also very ready to have this baby. I’m not in any unmanageable pain, just ready. I’m a bull in a China shop with this big belly. I’m moving slower. Meanwhile, the baby is moving a lot (which yes, I know is a good thing) and I’m just ready to meet him or her and start bonding. I think about holding the baby all of the time. I’m probably acting out a little on Ollie getting all up in his grill kissing and fake noming on his cheeks and junk. Sorry, Ollie. Your mom is weird.

I’m also overdoing it (mentally and maybe a little bit physically), but I can’t sit still. There’s so much to do. I don’t like being cooped up. Even with a severe cold and sinus infection this past week, I didn’t really slow down much. There’s no time for that laying around nonsense! Truth? I’m looking forward to being at home for a while with our baby. Slowing down a little. Nesting. Getting my body back. I got pregnant around the same time I hit a 4o-pound weight-loss goal. I miss my skinn(ier) jeans! I miss zippers. Is that vain?

So yeah. That’s what’s going’ on. What’s new with you?

PS: I hope you don’t think the 3-D ultrasound pic is TMI. I debated whether or not to post it. But the baby is so beautiful and we can’t get over how much he or she looks like big brother Ollie. You can see why I’m so ready to meet this little nugget already!

Parenthood: Often Unglamorous, Always Worthwhile

Kids are messy and smelly. They have the “deceptively innocent eyes” thing down pat. When they’re not busy being those things, they are pretty awesome.

Our first-ever guest blogger, Jamie Hope Bellagamba, is a wife/mom/baker/caretaker/homemaker extraordinaire! She shares why even though the precious moments seem few and fleeting with her gaggle of little girls, parenthood is so worth it

Shortly after my third child was born, I thought it would be fun to write a book for expectant parents that detailed all the things you need to know before you have children. Sort of a “What You Can Expect Your Life To Be Like After You’re Expecting and Junior’s Staring Up At You With Deceptively Innocent Eyes.” The following are a few pointers I was going to include in the book:

  • Ideas for where to store all of your nice stuff (that glass-topped table with a giant crack in it will be of no use to anyone).
  • Your best options for steam cleaners – even if you don’t have carpet. No telling where those bodily fluids are gonna end up!
  • Tips for staying awake while driving (chewing gum always works for me).
  • Quiet activities for the dreaded dinner hour—there ARE options besides Yo Gabba Gabba.
  • Quick, easy dinner ideas (because it’s hard to cook with a baby attached to your boob).

Sensing a theme? Talk about Debbie Downer! If this book was ever published, I would be responsible for single-handedly decreasing the birth rate in this country. What I’d written actually depressed me and had me wondering, aren’t there any positives to being a parent?

I think I can be forgiven for composing this list while taking care of a colicky newborn, a toddler and a preschooler, not to mention running a home-based baking business and seeing to the domestic needs of a husband who travels for work two weeks out of every month. Obviously I was tired and delirious – think I still am, and will be for a while.

The thing is, sometimes being a parent isn’t really much fun. Kids are messy and smelly. They take away your body, your sleep, your free time, your sanity – and yet, even during your worst day, there will be a moment that makes all the challenges worth it: a spontaneous kiss, a random “I love you, Mom,” and those far-between moments when you realize – for once – the kids aren’t fighting, but playing together as if they actually like each other. Life is peaceful.

And suddenly, your 9-month-old grabs your shoulder and pulls up to stand, then lets go, hovering there for a moment with a giant grin on her face.

Being a parent isn’t glamorous, and it certainly isn’t worthy of a medal of honor. But it sure feels good when a little person you created reaches a milestone like that.

Hello. My Name is Erica B. and I am a Happy Suburbanite

This, from Slightly Insulting Chicago Posters, is designed to be funny-offensive. I can take a joke. But allow me to set the record straight about my very much alive hopes, dreams and aspirations as a suburbanite.

The city vs. the suburbs? It’s not that simple. It’s not us against them.

I didn’t leave Chicago for the suburbs because I fell out of love with it. Or because I failed. Or it failed me. Nothing could be further from the truth. Chicago was everything to me.

It’s an unpopular opinion that the suburbs are as adventurous as the big city. You can’t possibly maintain your dignity, passion and integrity out there. You can’t possibly still consider that living.

Newsflash: I’ve lived here for four years (and grew up in one) and I AM FAR FROM DEAD. I love the suburbs.

I still keep up with new music. I still read (we have libraries, too!). I write. I create. I discover new restaurants and eat good food with friends. I attend art shows and farmers markets, and shop at little downtown stores. I visit farms, orchards, museums, parks and enjoy tons of recreation. At home, I even have room for my own real garden! It’s pretty amazeballs. And contrary to what my facebook posts might relate, my new adventures are not all about my kids (though, yeah, some of the best involve them). Oh, and one final revelation: I can visit the city whenever I please.

It’s just common sense. You don’t die when you move. You don’t give up when you have a family. It doesn’t work that way. Adventurous people find adventure. Motivated people don’t care if something doesn’t already exist for them, they can always make it themselves. Creative people don’t need a special place to build, write or dream. They just do it. They rely on their imagination and will, not their coordinates.

So if you’ve transplanted form the city to the burbs or country for family, work, change of pace, cost of living, whatever – don’t EVER feel bad about it. Never feel like a sellout. Never feel ashamed or embarrassed or boring (unless you are boring). Don’t care so much about what’s going on in the city or what you’re missing out on. You have every opportunity to enjoy your life with the people you love wherever you are right now.

(Kick Out the) Summer Kid Jams

Mommy’s Alright’s summer jamz record collection …


(1) “In Tents,” Recess Monkey – Sideshows, freaks, geeks, animals, magicians and fortunetellers … come one, come all – the circus is in town!


(2) “Someone Else’s Shoes” from the Best Foot Forward Series/Recess Music – Ah, empathy. Kindness. Respect. They’re not always easy concepts for kids, but they’re all encouraged in these 15 tracks.


(3) “Backseat Driver,” The Cat’s Pajamas – “Juice box jams and car seat choreography.” Yep, that about sums it up. Great storytelling and funky grooves are great for road trips or just a jaunt to the playground.


(4) “Picasso, That’s Who! And So Can You!” Hope Harris – Each track spotlights a different artist from Bearden to O’Keeffe – exploring his or her style through lyrics and music.


(5) “World of Wonder,” Alison Faith Levy – It’s preschool pop with originals and a few classics for good measure (“Itsy Bitsy Spider”).


(6) “Sing Loud! Music for Families,” Melissa Green – These are upbeat ditties the entire family can appreciate with some fun covers like “Free to Be … You and Me” and a quintessential summer jam, “We Got The Beat” (featuring Brooke Shields – Iknowright?!).


(7) KinderAngst – These bratty bubblegum, pop-punk songs perfectly capture the sound of kids being kids. Frenemy jam “Let’s Play” has L7 written all over it. And holy smokes, Debbie Harry’s “Do It Yourself” is a sweet little ska tune. This will be in heavy rotation!

(Opening photo: still from Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom)

Last-Minute Father’s Day Gift Ideas (if your baby daddy is anything like mine)

Dad wants to smoke meat. It’s primitive, it’s delicious, there’s a technique to it that Dad can constantly hone (keeping him occupied outside for hours, which he likes). It does not have to be super fancy. In fact, although you can make your own (which sounds right up dad’s alley), we found for the cost of materials, you can get a decent one from a place like Menards and you don’t have to built it.

Dad wants beer. Good beer. Check out the unique selection of Pipeworks Brewing Co. (PBC), a new small-batch craft brewery out of Chicago (check out facebook for releases and distribution). If you can’t make it to our beautiful city to buy dad a hoppy IPA or a malty porter from the fine men of PBC, visit your local liquor store and get Dad a craft brew with a rad label.

Dad wants an important-looking bottle opener on his key chain to open his craft beer bottles. Dig this nifty church key-looking one from SuckUK.

 

 

Dad wants a cool shirt. You’ve got your Threadlesses, your Snorgs, your BustedTees. Christ, even Target carries a decent selection of ironic/vintage/meme-y shirts. Those are fine and good, but consider an original, hand-printed shirt from design group Slow Loris out of Guemes Island, Wash. They have some sick new designs out now, but my all-time favorite is the auto engine diagram shirt I got for my husband. Your dad will thank you (especially if he’s broken down and needs to find the ignition wire).

Dad wants to be lazy. In the shade. Being rocked gently by the summer’s breeze. Sound a little corny? Guess what? Dad is also corny. Get him a hammock. In return, he will finish up those “honey-do” and “daddy-do” lists from all the energy he’s restored from lazing around in his human cocoon. Hey, I bet he’d even share it.

Dad wants to survive the apocalypse. He read “The Road,” loves “Walking Dead” and “Survivorman” and now it’s his mission to keep his kinfolk safe not if, but when disaster strikes. “SAS Survival Handbook” will offer him peace of mind as we approach the revelation.

 

Bottom line: Get Dad an ugly tie, he’ll wear it. Buy him the wrong wrench, he’ll find use for it. That’s the beauty of dads. They aren’t picky. Truth is, he’d be happy with a six pack of PBR and hot dogs grillin’ on a Smokey Joe. As long as you’re by his side.


Enter your email addy to subscribe.

Join 21 other followers

Bettie Page Kids Clothing

140-Character Musings

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Archives