Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Great and The Terrible: Books for Her

Emaline was not feeling well last night so we are taking it easy today. After reading a thousand books, she just fell asleep. She loves books! If she is having a moment I can almost always break her out of it by telling her to pick out any book she wants and that I will read.

A few of her favorites (that we love too) are:

  1. 10 Little Fingers and 10 Little Toes
  2. Dear Zoo
  3. How Do I Love You
  4. Brown Bear
  5. Little Owl's Night
  6. The Day the Crayons Quit
There are so many lovely, creative, thoughtful stories. 

And then there are the ones that make me shake my head. I can't take them out of rotation because she enjoys them and really that's what matters. But after reading them over and over, I have to share!

For example the popular Goodnight (Insert name of state). Terrible! The writing is dry and unimaginative. And in case you thought your state was special, buy a second state and discover the similarities. 
Minnesota on left, New Hampshire on right.

New Hampshire on left, Minnesota on right.

The people who wrote these books are genius in that they are obviously successful- But come on! Try a little! 

And I have to mention nursery rhymes. Emaline loves them! Itsy Bitsy Spider and Wheels on the Bus are her favorites but there are a few in her Real Mother Goose book that don't seem quite so classic.

What are some of your favorites? Any that drive you crazy?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

New Baby: Stuff

This summer we do not have any weddings to attend. Instead, this year is all about (other people) having babies! July and August will be filled with tiny new people! As a result, I have been promising this post for a while- to share our top 10 baby items and a few lessons learned. As I wrote about here, baby registries are tricky!

What made our life easier:

1. Monkey Bouncer: Really light and easy to move around the house.
I forget she used to be this tiny.
2. Kick Piano: I was standing in the baby aisle at Target (BK: before kids) looking for a shower gift when a woman offered her unsolicited advice, "I have three little ones, whoever you're shopping for NEEDS THIS! It saved me!" And I have to say, that woman was right.
This nap is no joke. 
3. Swing: This is where Emaline took all of her naps when she was little (aside from the few times she kicked herself to sleep at her piano). We kept it in the family room so she could be part of the action.

4.Lamby: It is something I would never have thought of on my own. It was a gift when Emaline was maybe a month old and it changed our lives for the better.
5. Nail clipper: So minor yet so important. I would even go so far as to say, pack it for the hospital.

6.Bucket seat and attachable stroller frame: I loved this set. It was so easy, I could put it all together with one hand and often had to. 

7. Bottle warmer: We held out on getting one and when we finally did, we realized how silly it was to not have it. Huge time saver. We used this and my friends liked this

8. Enormous diaper bag: So many people said to me that the diaper bag could not be big enough. And now I agree. I liked that mine wasn't an obvious diaper bag but I would go bigger next time. Skip Hop has some really great options.

9. Swaddle: This kind in fleece or cotton. Sure, yes, learn to swaddle using a regular blanket but then save your exhausted self by using cheat swaddles. 
10 .Hands free pumping bra: If you plan to pump, you need this

And one thing I'd change: We didn't have a Boppy and I wish we did. I got My Breast Friend but because Emaline was not able to breast feed, I never used it. A boppy would have been way more versatile.

DO NOT: register for clothes or blankets! I promise you will get them anyway.
DO: register for lots and lots of wipes and butt cream (tubs, not tubes) and a changing mat. I know these things aren't glamorous but there will come a day when you are grateful for your stockpile. And your baby will not outgrow!

*All of the links take you to the product on because I think their registry is the best.

**This is not a sponsored post. This is just what worked for our family. And I'd love to make this process a little easier for the next person. Every baby is different and you will learn fast and know better than anybody in the world, what works for you and your baby! Good luck!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Hard Words: What I Carry

I have to write a post. If I write one then I am able to write another and then another. I have not forgotten about my blog. I have avoided it.

My last grandparent, Nana Rice passed away in February and I knew that my next post had to address that loss and so I wrote nothing.
My Nana Rice lived her entire life on one street. Her family was very close and many of the cousins and siblings still live only a few houses away. The neighbors who were not relatives, soon became like family. My grandparents were the couple that hosted social events and included everyone. They loved traditions and big gatherings and thought nothing of throwing a last minute party.

Today is Easter. We spent it with my Mom's family, the people who are feeling her absence the most. My grandparents had four kids, 10 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. And when we are all together, we fill the room with stories, sarcasm, and laughter. It is easy to see that we are existing in a space crafted by my grandparents. And so it was nice. But it is still not easy.

My Nana was kind and generous and hilarious! Every time I was with her, she made me laugh. It was the way she observed the world. She said things in a straight forward manner and ended sentences with laughter. When she laughed, she scrunched her whole face as though she was crying. The harder she laughed, the more it appeared as though she was crying. My Mother does the same thing. It makes them look so sad when they are so joyously happy. And it makes everyone else laugh harder.

I swear she is laughing in this photo!
Her laughter was contagious and made everything feel lighter, more manageable.
The last time I saw her I asked, "How are you feeling?"
She answered, "Terrible!" But then she laughed. A sincere chuckle that made me wonder if she was actually fine or if she just knew how to find a moment for release.

I think of this small interaction often. I take so much from her. She was a woman that had it figured out: enjoy life, gather the people you care about most, raise a family that supports one another, and find laughter when nothing else can be done.

I love my family.