The 50 Cutest Things That Ever Happened

Stole this link off a friend’s Facebook page today… Mom, call me after you see this so we can talk about them one by one.  Click here for maximum cute overload.

Spoiler Alert: Here’s #1…

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It’s Come to This

Thud. “Waahhhhh…..”

THUD. “WAAAAAHHHHH!!!”

Despite my best efforts to create a safe, cushy, soft Life Arena for Posey, she manages to bang her head over and over again on any hard surface she can find when we let her play on the floor– even inside her playpen with foam floory-puzzle piece thingies. I find myself left with two options:

  1. Move her into a padded cell.
  2. Get her a helmet.

Neither choice is ideal, but Beef and I have decided on the latter.  Really? Yes, really. And guess what? They actually make helmets for babies who have a tendency to bonk their noggins. Here’s three I found:

  • Thudguard Baby Safety Helmet

OMG, it has ears! But it’s also $42.95, which seems a bit steep for something she may not tolerate. Available in lilac and blue at amazon.com.

  • No-Shock Baby & Toddler Safety Helmet

Well this one has a bit of a Sherlock Holmes thing going on, doesn’t it? And it’s made in Italy! For $49.95, it’s also kind of an investment. Plus, it’s a bit too masculine for Posey’s taste. If it floats your boat, you can get it here.

  • Jolly Jumper Bumper Bonnet Toddler Head Cushion

And now for the SUPER-nerdy one, which means it’s the one we bought. More of a head pillow than a helmet, I guess. But for $11.95, we can afford the luxury of humiliating her. You can buy it here if you want your baby to be twinsies with Po– and I’ll keep you posted once it arrives.

Melissa & Joey & Me

One of the best worst summer shows has returned to TV, and Beef couldn’t be happier.  Last night, he came home grumpy from an especially hard day’s work.  While most stressed-out dads would pop open a beer to ease the pain– Alas, his wound was one there was no bandage for.

“I wish Melissa & Joey was on tonight.”

Poor guy.  There was nothing I could do for him about that, so I did the next-best thing.  I made him Joey Lawrence’s Sweet and Citrus Summer Fish Tacos , which J.L demoed last week on Live with Kelly!   They were pretty good, and Beef pointed out a better name for them would be:

“Joey Lawrence’s Sweet and Citrus Summer Fish Tac-Whoas”

I’m not entirely sure when our love affair with the 22 minutes of genius that is M&J  began.  Wait a sec, yes I do.  It was after ABC Family unleashed on the world a little film called My Fake Fiance– pairing up the unstoppable  @MellyJHart with the multi-talented Joey L.  Basically, our lives changed, and when we heard they were doing a show together, we were all in.

Here are the Top 5 Reasons you should be watching, too:

  1. She’s a councilwoman.  He’s her lost-everything-in-a-ponzi-scheme manny.  What could possibly go wrong???
  2. Joey’s hairline is different in every episode.
  3. The innuendo is just enough to make you uncomfortable that it’s on ABC Family, and you sort of want to call up the programming director and ask if he or she is sure about all of this.
  4. The pilot script actually refers to them as Hailey & Jack, so you know they weren’t just cast because of their first names.
  5. Franklin & Bash is on Tuesdays, so there’s no conflict.

Melissa & Joey airs Tuesday nights at 8/7c.  You’re so welcome.

…Wait, you didn’t see My Fake Fiance?!  Here’s the trailer.  Finally, a love story you can believe in.

Don’t Steal My Idea (C in a circle)

There have been many times in the last 8 months when it’s been suggested to me that I join a Mom’s Group.  I feel like whenever I spend time with another woman who also has a kid, well, that makes us two moms, which essentially qualifies us as a Mom’s Group, so I don’t need to join one.  While I do think that becoming a parent instantly allows you to have an opinion on whether or not to use dryer sheets, I do not think that just because someone else is a mom that we will be best friends forever.

But I also think the opposite of that.

I live on a historic boulevard lined with gorgeous graystones, trees, flowers, and a well-manicured green parkway running right down the middle.  When I take Posey for walks, I’m just one guppy pushing a minnow along– in a sea of BOBs, Bugaboos and Phil & Ted’si.   We’re all just hamster-wheeling around the same one-mile loop.  It sort of makes me sad that there are these dozens of women, all alone, lost in their own baby’s routine, walking lap after lap in a circle, when we could be connecting.  Then I remember my mantra and tell myself I’d probably have nothing in common with any of them, anyway.

And then I saw her.

She had a Snap ‘n Go.  The baby was probably pretty little, because the telltale gauzy swaddle blankets were elaborately draped over the car seat– the way only a brand new mom does.  But I wasn’t looking at the baby. I was looking in the underneath compartment.  There, just hanging out, was a little pooch.  Happy as a clam.  And I knew the woman who had a pet riding in the under-sidecar was someone I wanted to know better.   She had headphones on and only took them out for a second to politely acknowledge my squeal of delight.  You see, my beloved cat, Phillip, loves sitting underneath in the same spot, but as he’s an indoor fellow, I’ve never taken him outside.  He’s not allowed. In my head, I’ve developed some very elaborate netting plans that would enclose the enclave, so we could family-stroll, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Since this first sighting, I haven’t seen the mom/baby/pooch caravan again. But I think of them every day.  And I also think about this:

  • They make baby strollers.
  • They make double baby strollers.
  • They make pet strollers.

WHY DON’T THEY MAKE A BABY/PET COMBO STROLLER?

I think it’s the one material object that could make my life complete.

My Mother’s Day Wishlist

For a long, long time, I wished I could be a mother. This weekend, it feels like I’m celebrating a dream come true. And while I appreciate every second, I’m not above wishing for a few other things, too.

What I’m Wishing For This Weekend:

1. The Bird Poop on My Front Window

I don’t need to wish for the poop stain, cause it’s already there. I hope someone will get something long enough to reach it with and clean it off. It’s a white smear on my psyche.

2. Stop Talking/Tweeting/Facebooking About Time Magazine

I get it– it’s controversial. I’m not ever linking to the cover here, because in 48 hours, I am so sick of seeing it. So have your opinion either way, and please move on to this…

3. ABC Family’s Momalicious Week

I have a confession to make. I have never seen The Notebook. I don’t even really want to, but I think I need to for the same reason I’m considering reading 50 Shades of Gray. When people make jokes or references, I don’t get them, and I feel left out. Thank goodness the network that brought us my favorite Christmas classic about a kidnapping involving Mario Lopez, Holiday in Handcuffs, comes a whole week of The Notebook and more!

4. Sleep

Such a cliche´, right? Thursday, I was up all night with my daughter and her upset stomach. And by that I mean my girl-cat had diarrhea. When she finally went to bed around 3 am, the motion detector alarm on the baby’s monitor went off (falsely) and woke her up. Screaming. BUT,  I went to bed at 9 last night, and Beef let me sleep in this morning– so I can cross this one off my list!

5. I’ve Changed My Mind on This One

Last year, I saw this infomercial–

 

I never thought of washing my feet as “a chore.” I thought this was loony toons. But yesterday, I woke up with aching feet, and in the shower– I remembered this. The reviews are terrible, but I have to admit, there are a few days this might do the trick. I think I’ll get a pedicure today instead.

Happy Mother’s Day to you and yours!

 

The End of the Email Chain Gang

Lately I’ve been trying to set up a few group dinners with friends and old co-workers. You know those endless email chains that go like this?

“How about the 4th?”

“No good. What about the 12th or the 14th?”

“I’m out of town the 12th, but the 14th might work.”

“We have out of town guests the 14th. Also, no days that end in ‘day’ work for me. Typically.”

It sort of make you not even want to meet up with these people anymore, even if it’s for crab legs. I JUST found out there’s a better way– and it’s called Doodle.

You build an event, select a date range, and notify the rest of the group via email. Then, people just click the days they’re available, and if you’re just and fair– majority rules. NO MORE ENDLESS EMAIL CHAINS.

Why am I just finding out about this? What other websites make your life easier?

Top 10 Search Terms on This Here Blog (My Apologies, Mr. Monteith)

WordPress lets you know how people got to your blog, which includes a list of what people googled to find you. 

This site’s been up for about 4 months now, and here’s a rundown of my top ten favorite search terms people got here using.

10. brave squirrel mom

9. pie cam live

8. no bra

7. Cory Monteith armpit

6. eating worms

5. man images cat in hands

4. ted nude gent alive

3. megan mad men teeth

2. beyonce boob

And last but not least…

1. Is Cory Monteith Fat 2012 (Editor’s note: I would argue no)

10 Preemie Must-Haves

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3 pounds, 13 ounces.

That was all Posey weighed when she was born 6 weeks early, leaving me and Beef terrified… and totally unprepared at home. We had a panicky feeling about leaving the safety of the NICU’s constant monitoring.  After my desperate web search for “Preemie Must-Haves” turned up basically nothing on the entire internet, I figured it out on my own. I’m sure I’m not the only parent who’s searched, so allow me to present the Top 10 Things I Couldn’t Live Without when we first brought her home.

1. Chicco KeyFit 30 Car Seat 

We were fortunate that we registered for this one only based on its good reviews. It turned out to be one of the few car seats with a 4lb. minimum– most of them start at 5lbs. A removable newborn insert makes it even snugger for little lima bean babies so they don’t go rattling around. And it helped her pass something called the Car Seat Test. Before the NICU lets you take your baby home, they hook your little nugget up to the monitors and observe for a couple hours to make sure she doesn’t lose any oxygen folded up in there. And you might get released sooner than you expected, so be prepared!

2. Puj Tub

Fits inside your sink; folds up flat! They say this is supposed to go up to 17lbs., but I think that’s a crock. I will say that it was itty-bitty enough to not make us worried about drowning her for a couple of months. This intimidation-free tub made bathtime fun instead of terrifying, and now it comes in some fun colors.

3. Angel Care AC401 Movement & Sound Monitor

After Posey spent 3 weeks attached to machines, having her at home with no monitors should have been a breath of beep-free air. It wasn’t. This super-sensitive gadget goes off if it doesn’t detect motion for 20 seconds. I am not going to pretend that I also didn’t wave my finger under her nose constantly for the first several dozen nights, but the reassurance helped us tremendously. If your preemie is experiencing  apneas or bradycardias, you know what I’m talking about.

4. Fisher Price’s My Little Snugabunny Bouncer

I spent hours upon hours searching for something appropriate for her to sit in, and this bouncer had preemie parents screaming from the rooftops. Total dedicated preemie parent following, and it should, because it fits a little baby very well. And she liked it for a long time in baby-time, which is like 4 months. I liked that it wasn’t particularly loud and obnoxious. She came with us everywhere in this thing. Poor kid has watched her parents shower while strapped in the Bunny Chair so many times that I am fully prepared for her to start presenting with bunny issues.

5. Boppy Newborn Lounger

This was her #2 hangout spot. Perfect for on the couch or whaevs. It’s engineered with the perfect teeny-tiny divet for a teeny-tiny tush. Now that she’s outgrown it, it’s the cats’ favorite. And when my first pillow got shredded in the washing machine, Boppy sent me a brand new one in 48 hours.

6. Halo SleepSack Swaddle

The NICU nurses really know how to swaddle. The problem is, when you get home, they really don’t recommend a blanket swaddle because it can get loose– and you’re not supposed to have ANYTHING in the crib/bassinet with them because of the SIDS risk. But that startle reflex is real, and it keeps them awake. This thing saved us. It successfully straps baby’s arms down with a secure Velcro seal, and it’s idiot-proof. Once I even overheard Beef, upon swaddle completion, gloat, “I made that swaddle my bitch!” It’s the little things. The SleepSack has also been proven to decrease SIDS risk. Get like 3, because they get barfed on.

7. Carter’s Preemie Perfect clothing

Whilst in the womb, Posey was gifted with one of the cutest wardrobes on the planet. When she was born, she owned not one single thing that actually fit her. We even had to roll down the tops of her preemie diapers because they were too big. Carter’s is amazing. They sell it everywhere, it’s cheap, and they make preemie-sized clothes that actually fit a preemie. Now I have phrases in my vocabulary like, “It washes well.”  Here is a picture of one of her preemie suits next to her big elephant-girl 6 month suits she just started wearing:

(Note to BabyGap: thanks for making an “up to 7 lbs.” size, but it didn’t fit my baby until she hit 7 lbs.)

8. Dr. Brown’s Bottles and Preemie Flow Nipples

In the hospital, we had to use slow-flow nipples to feed her. Standard flow was just too fast for her and would cause her to choke, which would cause her to stop breathing, which would set off the alarms and become the most traumatic 5 to 12 seconds you can imagine. These are the bottle that she liked the best after some trial and error, and we were relieved that a preemie-flow was available to reassure us at home that she wouldn’t choke on her milk.

9. Sunshine Kids Easy View Backseat Mirror

Probably the scariest thing you will ever do as a parent is drive with your new baby in the backseat for the first time. What worked for us was the caravan system, where we had my parents follow in the car behind us on the way home from the hospital, motorcade-style. Beef drove. About 10 miles per hour. When it was my turn– and Beef had gone back to work– I invested in this handy little thing so I could see what my rear-facing baby was up to. Get one.

10. Gold Bond Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer

Last but not least, this one’s for you. I’ve written before about hand sanitizing. It’s a good idea, especially with a preemie. But that Purell stuff is the pits. It leaves your hands looking and feeling like turkey jerky. I saw a commercial for this product, and I think it was the first time I ever ran-not-walked immediately to the store to buy it, and it’s great. Lotion and germ-killing in one.

Am I missing anything you’d care to add to the list?

Note from Liz: I was not compensated in any way by any of the above-mentioned companies. All of my opinions are based on my own experience and research. 

3 Places that Make My Life Easier These Days

Previously, I’ve complained that I would be fired if I did my job the way other people did theirs. However, I wanted to take this opportunity to sing the praises of a few Chicago businesses who just could not be getting it any more right for me lately. Here goes:

1. Kingsbury Street Cafe

Across the street from the Lincoln Park Whole Foods and adjacent to VIP’s (Chicago’s Finest Adult Entertainment) (going to skip the hyperlinks on both of those), there lies one of the finest dining experiences in the city. Rose Duong and her top-notch staff serve breakfast, lunch and dinner that’s not only out of this world, but also vegan-friendly, if you’re into that sort of thing. I brunched with my brother-in-law recently, and he ordered pancakes “for the table.” Apparently, that’s a thing (it applies to fajitas, too), and you’ll be glad it is when you order Rose’s lemon pancakes FTT. It’s also a great place to take kids ‘n babies. There’s a fantastic kids’ menu, a parking lot, and the tables are far enough apart that you don’t have to worry about your baby getting sneezed on– or your baby sneezing on someone else.

2. Town & Country Pediatrics (their site is currently under construction) 

For the first six months of her life, I took Posey to a different pediatrician’s office. It was fine, but I wasn’t 100% satisfied. We recently gave T&C a try, and I feel like I wasted the first six months of my daughter’s life. First of all, they’re open 7 days a week. Second of all, this is how they operate: Posey’s had a runny nose for a week, but her breathing was kind of loud last night so I wanted someone to take a listen to her chest. I called the office at 7am. The answering service answered. They told me they could make me an appointment with the nurse practitioner as early as 7:30am. SAY HUH? Since when does a doctor’s office offer to get you in before you’ve even had a chance to pee yet? We went in at 8:30 and were out of there in mere minutes, my nerves calmed– and the rest of the day ahead of us.

3. Frog Temple Pilates & Yoga Studio

I’ve taken classes from Randi, the owner, for years. She’s an amazing teacher. If she taught German or knitting, I’d take that from her, too. The studio has great pre-natal classes if you’re expecting, and if you already plunked yours out, Marcia teaches a Body After Baby class on Sundays. But here’s a secret: they let me bring Posey with me. During the week. I set the car seat down in the corner and pray she’s still young enough not to get mad… and get my Rolling Like a Ball on. Tuesdays at 10am is the secret bring-your-baby hour. First mat class there is free.

The Best Photographer in the World

Doesn’t Chicago look purty?

If you haven’t heard of him, you’re missing out. Chicago-based photographer Joseph Lekas takes some of the most mesmerizing photos you will ever see by layering multiple exposures to create one super-cool image– with colors essentially never before seen by the human eye. Check out his stunning gallery here, and then at your next dinner party, casually reference him and his work to people so they will be impressed with your knowledge of the art world.

And also…he’s my brother and Posey’s Unka Joey. (And ladies… he’s single! Drop me a line on the “Contact Me” if you’re interested. But beware, I’m picky.) He’s going to murder me when he reads this. Too bad.