Halloween Nostalgia

Happy Friday! I've officially worked for two weeks at my new job, and the good news is, I'm loving it! I got put on a huge project right away, so I've been busy already (hence the lack of posting), but I'd rather be busy than bored.

In any case, today marks the beginning of my favorite time of year: HOLIDAY SEASON! Starting of course, with Halloween weekend, followed shortly by Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I love Halloween. I've always loved celebrating it, and the ways in which I've done so have evolved over the years, to say the least.

When I was younger, every year I would look forward to going to see "The Costume Lady" with my mom and sisters. "The Costume Lady," whom I'm sure had a name, but this is how we referred to her, was a woman who had hundreds of handmade costumes that she sold out of her garage. If we didn't get costumes from her, my mom made our costumes.

And I must say, we had some kick-ass costumes. One year, I was a 50s girl, and I wore patent leather shoes, white socks, a white turtleneck and a handmade pink poodle skirt that twirled in the most amazing way!

Another year, I was a beauty shop technician. I wore a wig with curlers, a lab coat that had scissors, hair clips, a curling iron, etc that I carried in my pockets.

One of my favorite costumes was a Hershey Kiss outfit that my mom made. It was silver sparkly fabric stuffed with newspaper, and had leg and arm holes. I wore white tights and a white turtlneck underneath, and my mom made a hat shaped like the top of a Hershey Kiss, complete with the long white tag on the end.

As I got older, of course I went through a phase of dressing "sexy" for Halloween, mostly during college.

And even post-college, my hubby and I have always dressed up and gone out to celebrate. One year, I was a "Deal or No Deal" girl with two of my girlfriends.

There was the year a group of us went as Dominos (VERY HARD TO NAVIGATE THE BUSY BARS).

I went as Lindsay Lohan went she first went cray-cray and was out house arrest. I was also Rosie the Riveter.

A couple of years ago, I was part of the Brookie & Brookie & Ricky V.I.Penis skit from SNL (Thanks, Champagne!).

Last year, I was pregnant, so instead of dressing up, I took my niece trick or treating. And of course, this year, I'm a PARENT! And so the Halloween game changes again.

So this year, I'm being a mom. We're taking Liam trick or treating in the suburbs with my best friend and her son.

BUT we will be drinking while trick or treating, and drinking after they go to bed SOOO...I'm still kinda being cool.

At least that's what I tell myself.

In all honestly, while we do have parties we could attend after Liam goes to bed, it's pretty much impossible to find a babysitter on Halloween weekend. That, and we just didn't want to this year. We want to embrace special times like this now that we have a child. Even though he will not remember his first Halloween, and even though the candy he gets will be consumed by his parents, it's still all about creating traditions and memories, much like the ones I had growing up.

Stay tuned for pics of our little monkey!!

I hope everyone has a safe, warm, happy Halloween, whatever you're doing!
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Liam Albert {10 Months Old}

Each passing month officially becomes my favorite. I'm just loving this phase of Liam. While he is busy and as such, keeps us busy, he is also learning so much and really developing a personality. I think he is hysterical and adorable, among so many other things. He's so happy and easy-going as well...we get so many comments on how "good" and "happy" and "sweet" he is. I couldn't agree more!

Here's what we're up to at 10 months old!

Not sure since we don't see the doctor until our one-year visit, but Liam is still just growing every day! He's maybe 28.5-29 inches, and probably 21 lbs, if I had to guess.

New Milestones/Skills
  • Shows/finds things, people and animals - Liam can now show us something when we ask him to. For example, if I ask "where's Dada?" or "Where's your monkey?" he will point, or go pick up the toy. 
  • Points where to go or at what he wants - He can also use his finger to point at something instead of just the arm in a general direction. 
  • Supported walking - He's getting so good at walking with us holding his hands and with his little walker toy! He is going to be cruising in no time!
  • Recognizes people and things - He recognizes people he's very familiar with and usually reacts to them in some way. The same with toys and food he likes. :)
  • Talking more - Nothing super understandable, except for the addition of "Nay Nay Nay" to his vocabulary, which we are pretty sure means no. (Isn't it too early for that?)
  • Waves hi and bye - He's been doing this for a while now, but he has recently perfected opening/closing his hand to say hi/bye, and does this to nearly every person he sees. It's so sweet!
  • Imitates - He mimics sounds and faces without being prompted and thinks it's just hysterical!
  • Laughs at himself - The other night he made a funny face during dinner and I laughed at him, so he laughed too, and then kept doing it over and over.
  • Sharing - He is getting really good at giving people things, whether it's his pacifier, a toy or a piece of food.
  • Plays with emotions - He knows how to react to get his way, that is for sure!
  • Puts objects in containers

He is still loving many of the same things, with a few new additions:

  • making silly faces - he does a really funny "cheese" face when I ask him, and other times just to get a reaction from us!
  • eating - whether it's a "ba ba"or real food, he can't get enough. I think he'd eat an entire can of Puffs if we let him!
  • baths - nothing new here!
  • giving kisses and hugs
  • reading books
  • walking himself around furniture, or with his toys
  • getting into everything he shouldn't
  • outside - he cries when we come in from a walk, and is always mesmerized by trees, the sky, etc.
  • blowing air - he thinks it's very funny if you blow air in his face, on his tummy or on his toosh. I know that last one sounds weird but he had a rash recently and I was trying to air it out, and now he finds great pleasure in it, LOL.

Honestly, the kid doesn't dislike much, but a few I can think of:
  • Changing clothes and/or diapers. Still.
  • Sitting still. ongoing.
  • Being sick - I mean, no one likes being sick, but this poor kid really doesn't. We've had some bouts of colds and HFM disease, and he's had a lot of thermometers up his butt and Nose Frida action happening, and he HATES both. I can't blame him.
Still eating 4-5 bottles/day, plus several small meals! Kid LOVES to eat.

Still going strong with 3 naps/day (we'll probably transition to 2 soon), and sleeping 12 hours at night. We've had some rocky nights recently with teething and being sick, but we can't complain much.

As I said - Liam and life with baby in general is just so much fun. Different than "before" and of course comes with struggles and bad days, but I couldn't love my little guy any more, and continue to look forward to the coming months!

The eternal struggle for a photo continues...
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To the New Mom Walking

Hey, you.

Yes, you - the mama at the intersection looking nervously in every direction to make sure all the cars are stopped before you cross the street with the baby stroller you are gripping for dear life.

You, the one pushing your new travel system, which you have covered, but keep peeking under to make sure your brand new, beautiful, most precious piece of cargo is still alive - and sleeping.

You push the stroller back and forth, back and forth, a quiet "shhhh" crossing your lips - unconscious movements and noises. You hope, wish, pray that you can make it to Starbucks and back without the baby waking or screaming.

I know you. We've never met. But I'd recognize you anywhere.

You're self-conscious out here in broad daylight. You wonder if people around you think you look fat, or like a slob in your yoga pants, or if your breasts are leaking. You subconsciously tug your shirt down.

You walk gingerly, still sore from the trauma of delivering a human.

I see you, sneaking your phone under the car seat cover to snap a picture of that sleeping beauty. You're making sure to get some of the sidewalk or sunlight in the photo, to make it known that you're outside, and that you're brave enough to leave the house.

You have a venti coffee in the cup holder, and as you walk, you do so carefully, so as not to spill a drop of your precious caffeine. You're already thinking about when you can have a second cup.

Beneath your sunglasses, your eyes are tired and bloodshot. They still sting from this morning, when for no reason at all - yet for every reason in the world - you burst into tears when your mom called to see how you're doing.

Your hair, piled high in a pony tail, is wet from the shower you took this morning. The first one you've taken in days. The one that lasted a whole three minutes, because even though your little one was sleeping in his Rock 'n Play just outside the bathroom door, you still stuck your head out of the shower every 30 seconds because you swore you could hear him crying.

You're confident from taking a shower. This small victory made it easier for you to put on fresh yoga pants - not the ones you've been wearing the past few days. Cleanliness and accomplishment propelled you out the front door with determination to seize the day.

I know you, Mama. I was you. I am you.

You're tired in a way that you've never known, never knew, was possible. You're overwhelmed, in every sense of the word - with love, responsibility, amazement, uncertainty. You're scared. You have no idea what you're doing. You question every single decision you make. Your Google history would show me everything from "how long can breast milk sit out" to "why is my baby crying." You cry for no reason, sometimes just because you love that baby more than anything.

But outside the walls of your home, being a mom doesn't seem as hard. The day ahead of you, filled with feedings and crying, shushing and soothing, dirty diapers and spit up, doesn't seem as daunting.

You look forward to that baby opening his eyes, so you can talk to him, kiss him, snuggle him. You don't feel like bursting into tears when someone asks you how you are. You don't feel scared at the prospect of taking care of this baby, whom you've only just met and are still getting to know, all by yourself - at least until Dad gets home. In the fresh air and sunshine, you feel like you've got this.

And you should. Because you do. I promise you, despite how unfit for it you feel, you are the best person for this new job you hold. You will find your groove. And while I can't promise you it will get easier, I can tell you on good authority that it does get better.

So keep walking, Mama. You're doing great.
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It's the Great Pumpkin, Liam Albert!

Do you ever feel like you can't get life under control? Like, when do things stop being busy? (When you're dead, I suppose.)

In any case, I do have a few small excuses as to why I haven't been blogging as frequently. For one, I am starting a new job in a couple of weeks, which means things at my current gig have been hectic as I wrap things up. (I have a thing about leaving people in a bad spot). For another, I have been traveling for basically two months. I get home from a trip and spend the week catching up from said trip, then have to leave again. Woe is me, I know. But honestly, it's not always as glamorous as it sounds.

Tomorrow, I am headed to Sausalito, California to see one of my best friends get married! I'm going solo on the trip, so Bryan and Liam will be having a boys weekend here in Chicago! Bryan mentioned he would take Liam to the Pumpkin Patch while I was gone. To which I quickly replied, "Oh no you're not!"

Here's the thing. Literally every fall, I try to get Bryan to go to a pumpkin patch or apple orchard with me. To know me is to know I LOVE fall - everything about it. And he never goes, because he doesn't share my sentiments. So not only is he planing to go on an excursion which he doesn't really care about, he's going to take Liam on his first trip to somewhere I LOVE? Nope. Sorry, it ain't happening.

When we had this discussion, we happened to be home in Iowa visiting my sister and my newest niece: Serena Grace! Isn't she amazing!?

So while we were home, we thought it'd be a great family activity to go see the local pumpkin patch! It had a great play area for kids, a corn maze, and of course, pumpkins. We piled in and headed there with all the grandparents, nieces, nephew and of course, Liam. 

 Everything was a hit, for the most part. Except that it was 80 degrees and Liam was hot. Liam HATES to be hot. So literally, everything we tried to do with him to enjoy this great first time at the pumpkin patch - was met with a screaming child.

Lucky for us, there were other children there (my nieces, specifically) who could enjoy all of the offerings of the pumpkin patch, so I spent time with them and handed my fussy child off to the grandparents. :)

In the end, I got my way since I could experience one of my favorite fall activities with my son, and also my parents, in-laws, nieces and nephew. 

Next time though? Because there WILL be a next time. We're going when it's cooler.

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An Open Letter to My Boobs

Well, girls. What can I say?

I guess I'll start with thank you. Thank you for allowing me to nurse Liam. I know how hard that can be for some women. I was worried before he arrived that you might fail me, but when the physical part of nursing came easily to us, I was so proud of you, girls! I knew that some day, your ridiculous size (a quality I've never liked about you) might come in handy. You didn't let me down.

Speaking of let downs, I have a bone to pick with you, Boobs. When Liam went on a nursing strike a few months ago, which caused me to have to pump exclusively for going-on three months now - why did you girls insist on being so stubborn? Why have you put me under so much stress, making me freak out and stress over clogged ducts, no let downs, my inability to empty you and lack of supply?
I know it was a sad day that fateful morning when Liam screamed at the sight of you. It made me feel bad, too. But that's no reason to just give up, is it?

For months now, Boobs, you've been playing mind games with me. "How much milk should we give her today?" I can just hear you both snickering to each other as I hook myself up to that damn pump for the umpteenth time, hopeful that for a let down (or two).

At least four times each day, I sit down, looking forward to our time together, confident you'll work hard for me, for the baby. And each day, ladies, especially lately, you disappoint me. I sit, and I pump, and I speak to you kindly. I give you warmth, good food, lots of vitamins and supplements, and plenty to drink to keep you full.

And still, you give me the silent treatment. (Except for those times when the only noise you make is a boob fart.)
I'm starting to think you really just like the intense massages I have to give you for the entire 30 minutes of our sessions together, since that seems to be the only way to get you do anything at all.

And hey, left boob? Why are you so damn lazy? Your sister on the right shows up to work every day, doing about twice, sometimes three times the work you do in a 24-hour period. Get it together, would you?

I'm sorry for everything you've gone through the last 9.5 months. I know it hasn't been easy, what with all the clogged ducts, engorgement and bleeding you've experienced. I'm sorry for those times when the baby reared his head back during a feeding session, and didn't let go of the nipple first.
I'm only asking for a couple more months of this. Less, if you can start to work harder. Can we do it? Can you just work with me a little while longer?

After that (and after the next kid...and maybe one more after that...), I cross my heart and hope to die: I will pay for the nicest face lift money can buy. You've got my word.

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