Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Life as a House

Yesterday, my darling little boy looked innocently into my eyes and called me a walking house.

To his credit, he did say "walking." Waddling, shuffling, or, let's be honest, stationary would have been more apropos. At just one day shy of my due date, I definitely feel as big as a house. Jack pushed on my non-existent belly button (the "door bell") and called loudly to the baby, "Hello! Is anybody in there? It's time to come out now!" He then pretended to open the window (aka my mouth) to see if he could spot the squatter in apartment 1A. Unfortunately, the tenant shows no signs of vacating the premises.

It's time to go, kid. For seriously.

I've always been kind of annoyed by women who complain about still being pregnant before their actual due date. I mean, 40 weeks is just an average. It's not like we need to start downing castor oil at 37 weeks. But I'm starting to understand where they're coming from. Jack showed up exactly one week early, which was perfect because John was finishing up finals for grad school and if he'd debuted any earlier, things could have gotten a bit tricky. Not to mention he was due on Christmas day, so a slightly early arrival was preferable.

This baby, on the other hand, seems perfectly content to stay in his current residence permanently. I know all women feel this way when they're at the end of their pregnancy, and I won't actually be pregnant forever (and once this kid does show up, I'll probably wish he was back in there, where at least I didn't have to hear him cry or change his diaper a zillion times a day). A word to the wise, however: don't Google "longest pregnancy ever." 375 days, my friends. Information that does not make a full-term pregnant lady feel any better about her situation.

Jack asked me yesterday if the baby is watching TV in there. I assured him that wasn't the case, but now I can't help imagining this baby as a lazy lump enjoying a Game of Thrones marathon while he waits for his next meal to be delivered on a tray. So kid, this is your official eviction notice. Grammy is here to look after your big brother, Daddy is finished with work, and Mommy has hosted you for long enough. There's a whole big world out here, and we can't wait to meet you!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Like A Virgin "Getting to Know You" Blog Hop

As part of the Like a Virgin Writing Contest I'm entered in, I'm participating in the Getting to Know You blog hop. Here are the questions, and my (hopefully not too boring) answers.

1. How do you remember your first kiss?
Let's ignore the fact that my first actual kiss didn't happen until college and focus on a much more charming story. Technically, my first kiss was in fourth grade, when I had my brother lead my crush (a freckle-faced, red-headed boy named Tim) under the mistletoe with his eyes closed. Tim pretended to be horrified, but he was my boyfriend for the next two years, so I must have done something right. Also, I think I deserve some kind of award for having the longest elementary school relationship ever.

2. What was your first favorite love song?
I can't really think of the answer to this one, although I was definitely partial to "Kiss the Girl" from The Little Mermaid

3. What's the first thing you do when you begin writing for the day?
Aside from having something to drink on hand (generally water - exciting, I know), I don't have a real writing ritual. I like to re-read what I wrote the previous day and go from there.

4. Who's the first writer who truly inspired you to become a writer?
There are many writers who have inspired me over the years, but the real credit belongs to my best friend from childhood, Erin. She wrote a book when we were in sixth grade, and she read constantly. Now Erin is an agented writer and one of the smartest and most well-read people I know. If she hadn’t been my best friend growing up, I’m not sure books and writing would have become such a big part of my life.

5. Did the final revision of your first book have the same first chapter it started with?
Revision of my first book? Ha! I didn't even know what revision was back then. But the final revision of my first REAL book does have the original first chapter.

6. For your first book, which came first: major characters, plot or setting?
Plot is almost always first for me, followed closely by characters and setting. They all kind of go hand in hand, don't they?

7. What's the first word you want to roll off the tip of someone's tongue when they think of your writing?

I don’t care if a reader thinks I’m the funniest, or the smartest, or the best, as long as they get sucked into my stories enough to want to keep reading! That’s certainly what I look for in a book – one that grabs my attention and refuses to let me put it down.

I'm having trouble getting the linky list to show up here (which I'm sure is entirely my fault) but here's the link:


Monday, April 14, 2014

Mommy Mondays: No Filter

I've been considering writing this post for a while, but after the hell of potty training, I'm slightly less likely to share every embarrassing parenting moment on this blog.

But only slightly, so here goes.

Recently, Jack has been asking questions. The tough ones. It probably started right around his fourth birthday and it doesn't look like it's going to end any time soon. In fact, one of the more difficult topics came up today, at Target. Here's how the convo went:

Jack: "Where are Great Grandma and Great Grandpa?" (side note: This is not the first time he has asked me this since my grandparents died last year. It's just the first time that my evasion technique failed miserably.)

Me: "Uh, they're gone, sweetie."
Jack: "Where did they go."
Me: "Far, far away?"
Jack: "So we need to get on an airplane and go see them?"
Me: "Weeeeell... We'll talk about this in the car."
Jack: "I don't want to talk about it in the car."
Me (glancing sheepishly at the woman ahead of us in line): "They died, sweetie."
Jack: "Why?"
Me: "They were just really old."
Jack: "I'm dead. I'm really old. My legs don't work. Can I have my new toothbrush now?"

If I was a religious person and believed in heaven, I guess this whole topic would be much easier to deal with. I suppose I could tell him about heaven anyway (after all, I know for a fact Santa isn't real and I happily go along with that), but to me this seems like a much weightier thing to lie about. Jack knows what "dead" means to some extent (thanks to all the dead flies in my parents house in Montana), but I haven't had to explain the finality of death yet, or why things die. I'm dreading that conversation. Maybe it's time to buy a gold fish...

Then there are the other awkward topics that come up fairly regularly (and generally at the least opportune moments). I made the mistake of telling Jack that the baby is growing in my womb and for weeks afterward it seemed like it was all he could talk about. Every time he spoke to a woman he felt compelled to tell them about my womb and ask about theirs. That was special. I have been avoiding the topic of breastfeeding like the coward I am because I'm afraid he'll start asking women inappropriate questions about their boobs. I know it's coming, so I may as well put it off for as long as possible, right?

There are also questions about what fat means, or ugly, or (worst of all) why it's rude to talk about people's skin color in front of them. It was super fun when he asked me why our concierge was brown a few weeks ago, in front of the concierge. I know this is typical of a kid his age, especially one who has spent the last year and a half in two of the least racially diverse places on earth, but that doesn't make it any less awkward.

For now I'll probably continue to avoid difficult topics when I can and try to confront them honestly when I can't. So what if my kid thinks his baby brother is going to pop out of my belly button or that he crawled up into my womb? It's bad enough that total strangers have to be made aware of my uterus. I'd like to keep other parts of my anatomy out of it, thank you very much.

For the most part, I love that my kid has no verbal filter. Every question stems from a genuine desire to understand and learn about the world around him. And I'll be honest, it makes for some pretty hilarious conversations. I'd just prefer they take place in the privacy of my own home, not the stall of a public restroom.

What about you? How do you handle uncomfortable questions from your preschooler?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Things I Love Thursdays: Minted

Okay, so I'm probably the last person on earth to know about Minted, but can I just say: adorable! So many cute prints for kids, and really great prices even with a frame! I love that so many of them are customizable too. I've got my eye on several, but I've decided I need to wait until I actually have a house before I acquire anything else. There are too many I love to share them all, but here are some of my favorites.

These are the girly colors, but dammit, I'm sick of posting boy stuff!

The obligatory fox. They have a lot of good fox ones!

I love the retro vibe of this one, and that you can choose your initial.

Perfect for the baby's room, and I like that it's not TOO babyish.

I LURVE the tree ring idea. I'm going to try to do this as embroidery though.

They also do signs. Since I'm considering an outdoor/camping theme for Jack, I may have to get this.

I'm also pretty obsessed with their birth announcements. They have some of the best designs I've seen, and the prices are reasonable.

Have any of you purchased from Mint before? Any thoughts? I see myself wasting a lot of time on this site...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Writing Wednesdays: The End of an Era

I am sad to say a truly wonderful era is coming to an end, and I'm not ready. Yesterday, Laini Taylor's third book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy came out. I'm sure Dreams of Gods and Monsters will be just as phenomenal as the first two, and that's why I haven't bought it yet. I don't want this series to end. They are my favorite books of the last few years and I highly recommend them to anyone who loves YA, urban fantasy, and damn good writing.

Congratulations to Laini for finishing such an epic trilogy! I can't wait to read it. Or maybe I can, just a little longer...

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mommy Mondays: Tell Me Your Mommy Must-Haves

Four years ago when I had Jack, there were a few key products that made my life as a new mom easier. For example, the BOB stroller made it possible for me to start running a few months after Jack was born and train for a marathon. I know there are other jogging strollers out there, but I really feel like the BOB is the best. It's also amazing for traveling and handled Yekaterinburg's post-apocalyptic sidewalks like a champ.

Other items I loved: my My Breast Friend nursing pillow - a terribly named product that really did make nursing easier in the early days; my Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Backpack - pricey, yes, but that sucker held up beautifully for over two years of daily use; Sophie the giraffe - she lives up to the hype. Kids love that overpriced piece of rubber like nothing else; the Angel Care monitor - it lets you know if your baby stops breathing. Worth its weight in gold as far as peace-of-mind is concerned; Kirkland baby wipes from Costco - just the right amount of softness and strength, at a great price. And let's face it, wipes are pretty much vital to motherhood.

There were other products that came highly recommended that simply didn't work for me: the Moby wrap - I felt like I was drowning in fabric. One size does NOT fit all; the Bjorn carrier - apparently there are better models now, but that thing killed my back; the bouncy seat - true, it was something to stick the baby in when I needed to shower, but it just seemed like it should be able to bounce without my help; Johnsons Nursing Pads - does anyone really need a nipple bump on the outside of a nursing pad?

This time, I'm excited to try out some new products. I ordered the Beco carrier from the Honest Company (thirty dollars cheaper than normal) and I hope I love it. I'm definitely going to invest in a swing for this baby - I didn't have one with Jack and every time I went to a friend's house and put him in one, I kicked myself for it! I've got my six-pack of Bamboobies ready and waiting, and while the heart shape doesn't really seem all that practical, 500 Amazon reviewers can't be wrong!

So my question for you is, what must-have mommy products do you recommend? I know some great new products must have come out in the past four years. Or maybe there's a classic out there I missed somehow. I'm all ears (and running out of time until this baby shows up!).