In My House

Mama, Let’s Look at the Tree Together

Lately in the evenings my two-year-old daughter has a request around bedtime: “Mama, let’s look at the Christmas tree together.” So almost every night we spend a few minutes, just the two of us, in a room lit by only sparkling white lights while we admire the variety of ornaments.

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She giggles as I throw out names and descriptions of the ornaments, asking her to locate them on the tree. “Where’s Buzz Lightyear?”

I point to a ceramic baby carriage with “2017” engraved on it and she knows it is hers from when she was “tiny.” (She still is tiny.)

I smile as she recognizes and kisses an ornament that features a photo of my beloved late grandfather who she never knew, but would absolutely have adored her.

It’s no secret that Christmas time has a tendency to exhaust me. I do not think I am alone in that. Although I love the meaning of Christmas, traditions old and new, and the time with loved ones, I also thrive on minimalism, organization, and routine, none of which the holiday season seems to feature in abundance. These simple moments like enjoying the beauty of the tree through the eyes of a young child, are the moments that matter most.

In My House

Is Every Cast Member from The Hills Promoting Hello Fresh? Weird.

For whatever reason (crazy work schedule, motherhood, trying to be a Metallica groupie) I have been absent from the blog for a while. During that time, it seems that nearly every cast member of MTV’s decade-old hit reality show The Hills has started promoting meal-kit delivery services. Furthermore, it seems that Facebook’s has unveiled a new algorithm with the sole purpose of flooding my feed with these meal-kit ads despite the fact that I have never ordered one, expressed interest in them on social media, or otherwise “liked” them.

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Photo by Tayhart Photography

First I scrolled by Lauren Conrad in a cute pink peasant top in her perfectly spotless (read: unused) white and stainless steel kitchen happily unpacking a Hello Fresh box. Not 24-hours later, I scrolled past Lo. (You’re asking yourself “who?” and I did, too, but I’d recognize that silly name and deer-in-the-headlights facial expression anywhere.) Lo from The Hills. What? Really?

If you’re Hello Fresh, you really have to ask yourself: If Lauren Conrad is promoting your product do you also really need Lo promoting it, too? That’s like getting Stephen Curry to promote your new line of high-end athletic supporters and then also signing the guy who serves Gatorade to the Golden State Warriors to do a later-aired ad for the same product. You like that sports reference? That’s basically just to impress my husband in case he ever breaks away from his Fantasy Football line-up or ESPN.com and reads this blog.

I am not saying I have anything against meal-kit delivery services. I might even be willing to try one someday. I just think some of these advertising choices are a little bizarre, and trying to convince me that Lauren Conrad’s busy schedule as a mom, designer, or whatever you call her, is anything like my life or the lives of the other real-life working moms I know just doesn’t work.

Real-life working moms don’t cook in gorgeously clean kitchens while wearing adorable pink peasant tops. They cook in kitchens with appliances smudged with tiny finger prints, while still in a pencil skirt from the office, but in a Fleetwood Mac shirt with no bra because their toddlers are begging for snacks before they can completely change out of their work clothes.

I haven’t been on Facebook for a few hours, but I can almost guarantee that when I do, something special will be waiting in my feed. It will be Spencer and Heidi standing in a pristine kitchen, unpacking a cardboard box and talking about how Hello Fresh saves them so much time in their packed schedules of juice cleanses, plastic surgery consults, and anal-bleaching appointments.

Adventures

Motherhood Should Come with a Lifetime Supply of Kleenex

She’s three, sitting there bravely waiting to have her ears pierced, and I’m digging frantically in my purse for one of the little packs of Kleenex I can never be without. They’re not for her. I look away, pretending to be interested in a display of tacky pink feather boas, hoping she doesn’t notice my tears.

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Her sister will be one in a week. Again, I am reaching for Kleenex as I put finishing touches on her birthday party plans and wonder where the last year has gone. I can’t help but think that motherhood has made me soft. But in reality, it has also made me incredibly strong because I know I can and would do anything for these two girls.

I kick myself for crying because, well, I’m usually a little embarrassed about it. But, when you think about it, maybe that willingness to be vulnerable and to love deeply is actually one of our super-hero powers as parents. Capes are the new mom-jean.

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I know reaching for those little packs of Kleenex is just part of my life now. I’ll be digging for them at first days of school, graduations, and wedding days, and all of the milestones in between. I wouldn’t change it. Motherhood is such a deep, consuming type of love. We can’t describe it, and we can’t contain it, so sometimes the only thing left to do is to invest in a lifetime supply of little Kleenex packs. We are going to need them, and that’s a good thing, because I really believe most of those tears will be the happy kind.

Adventures

The Motherhood Milestone I Hoped to Skip

The seasoned moms told me it would happen and I cautiously waited. I waited, watched, and wondered when it would happen to me. But it didn’t. Months went by. Then my daughter turned one. Then two. Then three. Still nothing.

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But then the unthinkable happened last night when I turned my head for just a second to check on her baby sister. My completely potty trained (or so I thought) three-year-old pooped in the bathtub. Not only did she poop, but then she attempted to clean it up which made things far, far worse.

I scratched my head, baffled. Where to begin the epic cleansing of the tub, toys, bathroom floor, and child. Meanwhile, the aforementioned baby sister began to wail. I pulled my older daughter from the tub and attempted to dry her off without smearing feces everywhere. Two really nice wash cloths we got as wedding gifts were lost to this cause, and many, many Clorox wipes were used.

My husband had picked the perfect night to work late and arrived home after the girls were both clean, happy, and full of smiles for Daddy. It was one of those mothering moments that seem like a complete and utter circus. And one I’ll be delighted to share with any and all of her future boyfriends.

 

 

In My House

When’s The Babysitters Club Opening in My Town?

Ready to feel old? Today in 1986 Ann M. Martin’s The Baby-Sitters Club was first published. If you’re like me, your bookshelf contained several of these iconic novels, which tell the tales of Kristy, Mary Anne, Dawn, Stacey, Claudia, Jessi, and Mallory, seven friends running a club of highly qualified babysitters, just chomping at the bit to watch the children of Stoneybrook, and for a reasonable fee!

Each of the club members had a specific personality. I identified as a Claudia because I liked doing art projects, but was Kristy during softball season, except that she was good at softball. Although, looking back I was really more of a Mary Anne. Jessi was really the most level-headed of the group, but Mallory was super responsible (the oldest of eight kids.) Dawn was the health-food nut and Stacey was the sophisticated city girl with diabetes.

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Now that I’m a mom of two little ones and have a husband I still enjoy dating, I wish Kristy and her pals existed in my town. How amazing would it be to call one number (Claudia’s private line if you’re a fellow BSC enthusiast) and reach all these babysitters? We are fortunate to have a couple of fantastic young women in town that we occasionally hire to watch the girls so we can go to dinner or a play, so I’m not complaining, but I think most moms and former BSC readers would be dialing that number frequently if we lived in Stoneybrook, Connecticut circa 1986.

 

 

Adventures

Lessons from Three-Year-Old Girls

Three-year-old girls have it figured out. They can perfectly balance being glitter-covered, spider-hating princesses with being tree-climbing, nose-picking tomboys. The other day my nearly three-year-old daughter, fully dressed in Elsa of Arendelle princess attire, announced loudly and proudly “I have to go poop!” and ran to the bathroom.

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While I am gently helping her work on discretion when it comes to bathroom issues, I love that she embraces her femininity while being oh so real. When do we as women lose this ability? It seems somewhere between three and 30 we start to pigeon-hole ourselves. Can I be feminine and still be assertive? Can I enjoy shoes and clothes and still be practical and grounded? Can I be kind and still be a strong business leader? Can I love my career and still be a great mom?

I have recently been trying to encourage this balance with my daughter. She enjoys being feminine and that’s OK, but when she wants to try on my lipstick I apply it while reminding her that she doesn’t need makeup to be pretty. I encourage her to play with her trucks as well as her dolls, and she’s never discouraged from getting dirty.

While I’m glad we all eventually grow out of the nose-picking thing, I think we can learn from the unapologetic, do-it-all attitude of our younger counterparts. Be who you are. Wear that crown. Climb that mountain. May our little ones keep that fire inside them.

 

In My House

The Blue Tub

Something about the blue tub seemed to offer a glimpse of the future. We were planning our wedding and house-hunting. I fell in love with the quirky character of the 1940s cottage. The archways, the brick fireplace, and the original hardwood floors felt so inviting. I could imagine bathing our future babies in the blue metal tub, original to the home. The babies would be boys so blue would be appropriate.

It is hard to believe four years have gone by and now I bathe our baby girls in this blue tub. I don’t know why I had always thought if I had children they would be boys, but I had that feeling often growing up. I’m not a tomboy. I love being a girl and doing girl things. Still, I imagined mothering boys. But it’s true that God knows what is best for us.

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Having girls is amazing. They are kind, sweet, emotional, and head-strong. They make our lives better every day. The blue tub is a piece of our home’s character that I would never want to change. It serves as a reminder that life doesn’t always turn out exactly as we think it will. Sometimes it turns out so much better.