Someday, Someday Maybe: BCPL Challenge

Next up on the BCPL Challenge was to pick a book by a celebrity. A quick scan of my Amazon wishlist made my choice hard – I have lots of celebrity authors on there! I finally settled on Lauren Graham’s Someday, Someday Maybe. I am  in a bit of a Gilmore Girls phase right now and so excited about the miniseries they are now filming. Graham seemed like the obvious choice.

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Or was it? I am starting to question how I pick my books. Graham wrote in the first person and I couldn’t help but picture Lorilei Gilmore. For some reason I couldn’t put it down, but I didn’t necessarily think it was that engaging.  A fast talking, sarcastic 20-something trying to be an actress in New York before her self imposed deadline.

We’re all working hard, but so far away from what we actually want to be doing. We’re all peering in at the window of a party we aren’t invited to yet, a party we wouldn’t know how to dress for, or what kind of conversation to make, even if we came as someone’s guest.

Franny lives with her two roommates, takes an acting class and works as a waitress. She takes the reader through her quest to actually ‘make it’. We see her ups like getting an agent, and her downs, a commercial for a discount clothing store in an ugly sweater. I give Graham credit, she really captured the feeling of being in a new environment and the feeling of being self conscious. Everyone can relate to that and I felt like Franny’s inner conversation really matched what mine would be in a similar situation.

Today is the day you have to start believing in yourself. No one can do it for you anymore.

I think this book would be a good choice for a young adult who wants some light reading. It was a quick and easy read. Oh! One thing I really liked was the fact it took place in 1995ish. So all the challenges were magnified by the fact there was no internet. Getting lost on the way to an audition, getting scripts by fax, missing a call because someone forgot to change the answering machine tape – all unique challenges for a younger generation to consider.

I wouldn’t suggest buying it this one – I think most readers would be a one and done.

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Preschool Woes

I was thinking yesterday about my a ‘parenting style’. Am I a Helicopter Parent? A Free Range Parent? An Unconditional Parent? No folks. I am don’t fit into those neat little boxes. I fit into my own parenting style which I call the ‘It Didn’t Occur to Me Parent’. Signing Mike up for preschool really confirmed that parenting style.

It’s a damn good thing my niece is a few months older than Mike, and my brother and sister-in-law are on top of things. If we weren’t following the path they made, poor Mike would still be drinking formula in a bottle because, well, it just didn’t occur to me to ween him off. My ADHD tends to put me on auto-pilot which isn’t always a good thing.

It didn’t occur to me that Mike probably should go to preschool this year. There was no email from the department of preschool or a knock on the door from preschool police. But then again, how hard could it be? As it turns out pretty complicated. When I went to preschool, there was only one in my hometown. No application process or required tours. There weren’t options like Montessori, co-op, or religious affiliation. And there certainly wasn’t a waiting list.

I had heard there were a couple of preschool expos where they all set up display tables and we could get all the information in one shot, so I decided to ask my local mom’s Facebook group how it all works. Here’s how THAT went:

“Not to make you feel worse, but most places have done their open houses and some of the more popular ones will probably be full soon.”  Yes. I do feel worse. And thanks for a non-solution.

“There was a fair scheduled last weekend at the college.” Great! Thanks! But that does nothing to help ME. 

“We elected to keep our kids in a home daycare until they are 4.”  I am glad you made a decision that works for your family! I am not sure if you are mom-shaming me or not, so I will just move on. Also, another non-solution.

“Registration for many schools started in January. Call NOW!!” I should also note, this response currently has 5 likes. I also currently have a stomach ulcer.

By the time I read through these, I was pretty sure Mike was not going to preschool this year and will never, ever reach his full potential. Although I will say, that there were a few helpful responses that didn’t make me feel like the world’s worst parent.

So S. and I took to Google and have narrowed a long list down to three options to check out. It seems they all have rolling registration so we can set up a time to tour them next month when life calms down a bit. Perhaps Mike won’t grow up and live in our basement because it didn’t occur to me early enough to register him for preschool.

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Kiss My Grits

The Scene: Rushing Mike along to the car because we are already running late.

Momma: Mikey, be careful, it is really icy and I don’t want you …

Mikey: (sitting on the icy parking lot) WAILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

Momma: Oh, baby (picking him up). Did you fall? That probably scared you!

Mikey: (tears and red faced) Hurt butt!

Momma: Oh goodness.

Mikey: Hurt butt, hurt butt!

Momma: Okay, well let’s get into the car seat and I will give you a book (really wants to say ‘get in the damn car already, we are so late and you are fine’)

Mikey: (screaming loudly) KISS BUTT! KISS BUTT MOMMA! KISS BUTT!

Momma: (trying not to laugh) Can I kiss your hand lovey?

Mikey: (getting increasingly louder) NO NO NO KISS BUTT!

Momma: Okay, lovie. (kisses hand and taps butt)

Mikey: (tears stop instantly) Thank you Mommy.

TGIF.

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The Dollhouse Murders: BCPL Challenge

Thanks to Snowzilla, I finished another book for the Baltimore County Library Challenge.

I wanted to pick The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright as my favorite book from childhood, but believe it or not, it was also published the year I was born. Since it harder to find interesting books by the year they are published, this one is going to count for that category. Stay tuned for my review on a favorite book from my childhood.

In the meantime, stop what you are doing and go read The Dollhouse Murders. I was a little worried it wouldn’t be as good now that 20 some years have passed, but I was pleasantly surprised.

This books has all the makings of the perfect YA thriller – a new girl in town, a temporary stay in a dusty old house, a family secret and dolls that move. Amy is a typical thirteen year old girl in a new town with a special needs sister. Her Aunt moves into Amy’s great-grandparent’s house to prepare it to sell and asks Amy to come keep her company. Amy discovers a dollhouse in the attic in the likeness of the house they are stay in. However, the dolls begin positioning themselves into the same places where Amy’s great-grandparents were murdered. A family secret she didn’t know about, but now the dolls are trying to tell her something – but what?

Dolls can’t move by themselves, she told herself, and felt goosebumps pop up on her arms.

I can see why my middle school self loved this book. It was creepy enough to keep me up for a few nights worrying about my Barbies coming alive, but not scary enough to make me sleep with the light on. Wright brings the characters to life and makes dolls sending messages completely plausible. My only regret is I didn’t get the original cover art work. Which was AWESOME.

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Also, in my research for this book I just discovered there is a video. A VIDEO version of this book. Seems like a worthy investment to me.

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Girls in White Dresses: BCPL Challenge

My goal for this year is to read 16 books so when someone shared the Baltimore County Public Library 2016 Reading Challenge I thought it would add a twist my reading goal and help me branch out a bit.  I tend to read what would be classified as ‘literary fiction’ and shy away from ‘science fiction’ or ‘fantasy’. And no. I have not read Harry Potter. I just can’t.

Here’s what the BCPL Challenge looks like:

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I am a huge fan of BookBub so I have a lot of really random books in my Kindle collection. I decided to start there and tackle ‘a book with a color in the title’ which led me to Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close. I decided not to read the summary and had no idea what I was in store for. I finished it yesterday and if you ask me if I liked it, I would probably take a long pause and say ‘I’m not real sure’. Which seems to be pretty common based on the reviews.

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Girls in White Dresses follows a group of girls navigate life post college. Each ‘chapter’ is its own little mini-story from a different girls point of view. They suffer through bridal showers, drunken nights, boyfriends who are weird, boyfriends who are not weird, job loss and the general post college ‘what the hell is going on with my life’ moments.

I felt like I was watching an episode of Girls (which I gave up on after the first season). The characters were so … dramatic and immature most the time. I didn’t find them relatable because once I graduated college, I met S. a few months later and didn’t have the ‘never find a husband’ thoughts. And I lived in the suburbs in a world before Tinder. I didn’t keep in touch with many people from college, so perhaps I was missing that ‘everyone is progressing and I am still figuring it out’ mentality.

And the boys! In this book they were all so different, and I hated all but one of them. It was almost like the girls were trying to live this Sex and the City lifestyle and it came across as desperate and high school-esque.  If the guy is strange (like eating a box of macaroni and cheese out of a pot strange), just break up with him. Everything didn’t have to be so damn dramatic and difficult.  Of course, my parents might say otherwise. 

“Breakups are tough,” Isabella said. “But you got through it!” “I’m glad you’re over him,” Shannon said. “Now you need to go find another asshole to fuck with your head.”

There were some funny stories about family dynamics – Moms that used funny expressions and sisters who meddled. And my favorite story was about a boyfriend who was obsessed with politics and left his job to go on the campaign trail with ‘The Candidate’ (who was obviously Obama).

So all in all, it wasn’t a horrible book – but it’s the kind of book I will see in a few months, buy it because it looks good and forget I already read it until chapter 3. Borrow it from the library friends. Don’t buy it.

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Suuchi Custom Clothes

I am not stranger to the idea of custom clothing. Growing up I remember going to Joanne Fabric and flipping through those huge books of patterns and then watching Mom sewing on our coffee table.

Matching Easter outfits, circa 1992
Matching Easter outfits, circa 1992

Then I was lucky enough to visit China 3 times and each time I was advised to get a custom suit. You couldn’t walk ten feet without someone handing you a business card for a dirt cheap piece of custom clothing.

I have to admit, as someone built like a soft refrigerator, the idea appealed to me. No more button down shirts that didn’t allow my arms to move and pants that didn’t require hemming. But it seemed getting clothing fit to my exact measurements seems pretty costly, something a Kardashian would do. I doubt Kim could fit that booty in Old Navy jeans off the rack.

Well friends, let me introduce you to Suuchi. Based in New Jersey, this is truly a ‘made in the USA’ company. And get this. Your affordable pieces are delivered to your door in about 5 days. They have everything from shirts to pants to scarves.

Once you pick your product, you take your measurements and chose your fabric. They have basic colors and then some unique, fun patterns as well.  I was so excited to be asked to work with Suuchi as a Style Advisor because they are truly a small business with small business values. I was given a scarf so I could go through the process and they responded to my questions quickly and personally. I really felt like I was their ONLY customer, which is so not true, but critical to win my over in the customer service category.

I really wanted a fun scarf to add some of my personality to my work unofficial work uniform (dress pants, tank and cardigan) so I picked the stretchy scarf with stars. I was so impressed with the quality of the fabric, it was thick and, duh, stretchy. It was the perfect length and there are quite a few ways to wear it.

Guess what! You can win a custom scarf! The winner will be announced on Friday, 1/15/2016 after 5PM EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You guessed it, this is a sponsored post. Suuchi sent me the scarf in return for my honest review. My thoughts are my own – trust me, they can’t afford to buy a positive review. 

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Dear Mike: December 2015

Hello Love!

Happy 2016, you rang it in fast asleep in your crib, but it was exciting none the less. December was a big month for us with celebrating the holidays and building new traditions. You handled it like a pro, just going with the flow. The weather has also been super crazy, so we’ve taken advantage of the warmer days outside playing Hide and Seek. You are pretty good at finding us, but not so much at hiding. Thankfully!

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{Hanukkah} You, my love, are a fan of candles. Each candle we lit for the 8 nights you wanted to sing Happy Birthday and blow them out. You were also very excited with the gelt Bubbe brought you.

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{Christmas} Christmas was so much fun this year because you are really starting to understand things. You prayed each night (and still do) for ‘Seen-tah’ and presents. Your favorite gift wasn’t the balance bike like we thoughts, but the Melissa & Doug Latch Board Daddy picked out! You enjoyed taking ornaments off the tree and eating ‘can cans’ (candy canes). We did go see Lights on the Bay and you weren’t impressed – maybe next year!

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{Talking} I can’t believe we thought you were having speech problems. You are a talking fool now! Daddy and I were just marveling over how we are having actual conversations now. Turns out you are quite opinionated – you like to tell us to ‘stop it’, ask for ‘ah ah juice’, have a ‘Minion bath’, and watch ‘Cat Boy’.

{Visiting Santa} We weren’t sure you were going to take to visiting Santa this year, but we headed out to Homestead Gardens anyway. We got in the LONG line and you spent your time watching the cool train set. As we got closer you got more and more excited. You tried to cut the line a few times too! When it was our turn you walked right up to Santa like he was your long lost Uncle.

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{PJ Masks} You are a HUGE fan of ‘Cat Boy’, or as Disney calls it, PJ Masks. You sing parts of the theme song and can watch it over and over … and over. Daddy and I are a little disappointed there are only 5 episodes on demand – we are learning the dialog too. But your excitement is infectious and you call Daddy Cat Boy and me Gecko – leaving you to be Owlette.

{Halloween} That’s right – Halloween. You are obsessed with YouTube videos with Halloween themed, kid friendly songs. You walk around the house making ghosts noises and referring to yourself as a zombie or monster.

Well Bug, you are changing, literally, daily and it couldn’t be more fun. I love seeing your little personality become HUGE.  You fill my heart.

I’ll eat you up, I love you so,

Momma xoxo

 

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Merry Merry Everything!

A few weeks ago I realized we hadn’t done a family photo shoot and we managed to miss all the mini-sessions. I think it’s so important to have a pro do pictures at least once a year, so I reached out to my Facebook friends and found Dana Lorentz Photography.

She got the best photo with Charlie EVER. And despite it being SO windy (we were basically in a wind tunnel) and Mike NOT being happy, we got a few good shots. I mean, let’s not sugar coat it – this is our life with a toddler.

Here’s our 2015 family pictures and our card.

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And finally ….card

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Friday Five: Holiday Movies

I am not really one for choosing to listen to Christmas music, but when it comes to Christmas movies, that is another story. Sunday afternoons in December (and now November) when Mike and S. take their naps it is my time to snuggle under a blanket and turn on Hallmark or Lifetime to find a holiday movie. The lower the budget the better. And they all follow the same recipe – a rich person becomes poor and learns the true meaning of Christmas, an adorable child asks Santa for a mom for Christmas, a scrooge is met by three ghosts and their life changes. As long as there is love, a life altering event, eye candy and a kid – I eat these movies up.

So for Five on Friday, here are my five favorite ‘made for TV’ Christmas movies. And don’t you dare judge me!

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{Comfort and JoyJane is a self absorbed executive who gets into a car accident on Christmas Eve and is saved by her husband … but when she left the office she didn’t have a husband! She finds out she also has two kids and lives a modest lifestyle. Will she ever wake up to her real life, and does she really want to? 

{Snow GlobeOkay, so not really a Lifetime or Hallmark movie, but it’s ABCFamily so it is close enough. I actually own this on DVD! A lover of Christmas with a crazy family finds a snow globe and, surprise, she ends up being able to travel between her life and the snow globe world. Turns out one of the citizens of the snow globe world travels to her world and chaos ensues. It’s pretty entertaining.

{Will You Merry Me?Ah, a tale as old as time – a Jewish girl from LA falls in love with a Christian guy from the mid west and now they are introducing their families. And his family is REALLY into Christmas. Like, their last name is Kringle. Some say the jokes are offensive, but coming from the same (sort of) situation, where in laws are learning new traditions, it is pretty lighthearted.

{Ebbie’s ChristmasQuite possibly my Momma’s favorite non-traditional Christmas movie. It’s the classic Christmas Carol with a modern (for 1995) twist. Ebbie owns a department store and, of course, hates Christmas. Three spirits visit her and try to change her.

{A Diva’s Christmas Carol I may, or may not, have this on DVD. It’s another take on A Christmas Carol, but is based around Ebony (get it?), a pop singer. Frankly, you had me when I saw the cast – Vanessa Williams, Chilli from TLC and Kathy Griffin.

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October and November 2015

Love Bug –

What a busy fall you had! Our family ‘busy season’ usually starts with Daddy’s birthday at the end of September and this year it has been much of the same.

The biggest family news is my new job. I’ve had a few weeks to settle in and the best part is working so much closer to home and having a shorter commute. This has given me some extra time with you in the evenings which means a more relaxed, happy Momma. It’s also a job I really enjoy so that makes the whole family happy.  You came to visit shortly after I started and my coworkers (all 5 of them) thought you were sweet and adorable – I would have to agree.

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{Talk} Everyone told us that when you started talking you wouldn’t stop and they were right. We have been working with Miss Lisa from the Infant and Toddler Program every few weeks and it was like a switch was flipped overnight. I love hearing your crackly little boy voice and your big eyes side glance when you are looking for the right word. It’s fun to have ‘conversations’ with you and hear your opinion on things like ‘Daddy’s bed’ and ‘Minion baff’.

{Urgent Care} You had your first urgent care trip! You went to the ER when you were much younger for dehydration, but this time was much scarier because it was a fall. You were FaceTiming with Grandpa and while showing him your fancy dance you got tangled up and fell into the corner of the bookshelf. Thankfully Dad and I were standing nearby and when I picked you up the bruise was already HUGE. Daddy was a quick thinker and off we went to urgent care. By the time we got there things were fine and you were fine, but we had concussion watch for 24 hours. You were not a fan of being woken up every hour that night!

{Halloween} Our new neighborhood goes all out for Halloween and after a few houses you were all in. I made you a dinosaur costume and you loved it! Daddy picked out your dino slippers and you still request to wear them around the house so you can ‘rawr’ at everyone, even Charlie.  Miss Rachel took you to the Halloween parade at the elementary school and reported that you loved seeing the costumes and the kids.
{Feeding Ducks} We took a walk the other day to the pond so you could feed the ducks.  They clearly are used to being fed and swam right up to the shoreline. You kept asking for ‘mo’ bread and throwing it at them instructing them loudly to ‘EAT IT’. It made Dad and me laugh so hard.
{Tent Naps} We put up your tent in the basement and you find such  great joy in running in and running out. You also are pretty insistent on Daddy and me coming in to go ‘nigh nigh’. You cover us up, pat your shoulders, then quickly wake us up by yelling ‘e-boo e-boo‘ (which we are still confused about).
{Favorite Books} You’ve become quite a little bookworm to my delight. Each night you get 2 books and sometimes you can talk us into more. You are able to identify letters (like M, I, K, E, O) and help read some of the words. Your current favorites are Everybody Poops (Ah, Ah Poop), Good Night Maryland (Nigh Nigh Mahlan), 10 Timid Ghosts (Ghosts), Tickle Monster and anything involving ABCs.
{Pumpkin Picking} We headed over to Queen Anne Farm and you had a blast running through the muddy pumpkin patch and watching the farm equipment. You picked out 3 HUGE pumpkins (since you pay by the pound of course) and were pretty obsessed with carrying one everywhere. Halloween was weeks ago and there is still a pumpkin in my car.

{Thanksgiving} Thanksgiving at Grandma and Grandpa’s house is always a busy, fun, filling day and this year was no different. You had a blast running around with Pop-Pop and playing with Mollie. You were a trooper without a nap.

December is going to be even more fun my love!

I’ll eat you up I love you so,

Momma xoxo

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