Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Joys of Pregnancy

I am really blossoming.
As you can see, little baby girl #2 is growing like a weed (and so am I!) I will be 27 weeks along tomorrow (almost to the end of my second trimester, yikes!) with an estimated due date sometime around July 1st.
This pregnancy has been different in every way, which is why Dennis and I were convinced that it was a boy (two ultrasounds have said differently though so looks like it will be another sweet little girl). When I was pregnant with Olive, it was all very glamorous (ok, so not all glamorous, but more so). I had a desk job with a stool under my desk to prop up my feet. I could rest all the time, eat even more of the time, and come home and go to bed after work. This go round, my main job is taking care of Olive, an active 2 year old with her own agenda. She doesn't care that I'd rather be lying on the couch with my feet propped up and dozing in and out while reading pregnancy books. Nope, she doesn't care, and she doesn't slow down for anything.
So this time, pregnancy has been much less glamorous. And I've had all the yucky side effects that I didn't have the first time. For example, with Olive, I was "glowing" - this time, I am zitty and yucky. More nausea (which I'm just now starting to get over, but not completely, I still had to take my prescribed anti-nausea meds the other day). Varicose veins popping up everywhere. (eww) Feeling contractions and discomfort for months. And lots of other too-intimate details to share but let me just tell you that it hasn't been pretty. On top of this, I am so preoccupied by other things that I haven't had as much time to dwell on the idea of being pregnant and this beautiful little creature growing inside. When someone asks me how far along I am, I say, "uh, I don't know, I'm due around July 1st" (I had to look at my calendar to try to calculate for this post). I haven't read the weekly pregnancy books in a very long time (we used to do this religiously with Olive). I also took weekly progress pics of my belly the first time and while I'm doing that now, there are often several weeks that go by without pictures. My doctor reassures me that this is normal and actually a healthier way to parent, where you're not so overly concerned about everything. I guess he's right, but I still feel sort of bad...However, as we creep ever closer to D-day (Delivery Day), I am getting more and more excited to meet this girl and I know that it will all be worth it.
Anyone out there had totally different experiences with pregnancy? The good, the bad, the ugly? I'd love to hear...
**Apologies for the giant picture...this was as small as I could get it. It's probably big enough for you to visually see all my flaws.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Adventures in Parenting, the next chapter

As I've said before, I have been blessed to be surrounded by friends and acquaintances of every different style, interested in all sorts of things.

Recently, Olive and I were playing with another child and her mother. The mom got chatting about how she doesn't push gender roles and doesn't like to comment on her daughter's physical attributes but rather her personality since girls are usually complimented on their looks and boys on their ability. What a great idea...I like to compliment Olive on her good behavior and abilities but I do also comment a lot on her looks. Though I find I comment a lot on most small kids' looks (ie, what a pretty dress, cute shirt, etc.). Not two minutes after this conversation, her daughter did something really adorable and I found myself saying, "Annie, you're so cute!" Uh, oops. "What?" the mom asked. "She has such a friendly face," I lamely replied. Insert foot into mouth. Later, on the same playdate, the mom comments on how the little girl's bedroom is not done in pink but rather more neutral colors - green and red. It was a fun room and I think it's great not to push the girl stuff but then I realized that I will soon have two little girls and guess what colors their rooms are - Olive's is pink and green and Baby #2's room is purple and green. I fell into the "girl" trap again. I left thinking maybe I should go home and neutralize my kids' rooms. (then I walked into them and saw how beautiful they were and couldn't bring myself to change a thing!)

A few days later, we had an Easter egg hunt for the kids at the park. Olive meticulously stuffed her eggs with jellybeans and marshmallow bunnies ("so the children will have candy" she said). Fun and cute. We checked our candy carefully to be sure it was all nut-free and safe for Olive to eat. We arrive at the park and one of the other children, who just recently turned 2, is not allowed to have sugar. Huh? Oops... So guess what he put in his eggs - dried fruit and NUTS. AAAHHH. Talk about a heart attack waiting to happen! Luckily, Olive is old enough to understand that she couldn't collect those particular eggs but it's still something we had to watch. But I was also feeling bad because my child brought candy and cookies for everyone and they don't even eat sweets at all?? I'm all for not letting the kids overindulge but I feel like they should have some fun treats every now again. It's part of being a kid, right? (as a side note, this mama also takes her kid to a homeopathic doctor vs. a regular pediatrician and skips all the vaccines).

Anyways...sometimes these things make you feel a little inadequate but I have to remind myself that just because I let my little girls have pink bedrooms and eat candy on occasion that I'm not a bad mom and everyone has to do what's right for their family. But I just hate feeling judged...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday's Tip: Be Child-Like

Olive and I are here in Florida visiting my family and having some fun while poor Dennis is stuck at home transforming my former office into a new bedroom for Olive (she will move in there since it's bigger and the baby will get her old room - a perfect nursery). My parents and I took Olive for her first trip to Disney World over the weekend and let me just say - it was MAGICAL. Amazing. WAY better than I ever would have dreamed. And definitely more exciting as a parent than it ever was a child. Olive was a champ - she went and went and went. We rode several rides, watched the parade, climbed treehouses and play areas, met with lots of characters, and even stayed up to watch the fireworks over Cinderella's castle from our hotel room. All in all, an absolutely perfect trip (except for missing Dennis!) I've had so much fun both at Disney and here at my parents' house with her just enjoying being a kid again that I thought that would be a good tip for today. Just have fun - cut loose - be a kid - and don't worry what anyone else has to say about it (they're just jealous!) Here's just a (very) small sampling of some of our pics from Disney to share.

Arriving at the airport, ready for fun

At the entrance to Disney - Olive, me, and my mom

Olive and my mom watching the parade at Main Street Disney

Riding Dumbo the Elephant

My dad and Olive, with her souvenir Minnie Mouse ears

She got her face painted like Tinkerbell!

Meeting with Mickey and Minnie

Princess Aurora (aka Sleeping Beauty)

our favorite princess, Cinderella

Princess Belle (from Beauty & the Beast)

Remember these guys? Chip and Dale - she thought they were so silly ;)

Breakfast with Minnie Mouse

Breakfast with Goofy

Breakfast with Donald Duck

Breakfast with Chef Mickey

Breakfast with Pluto

Dancing on a platform and screaming (with arms in the air) - "We're going to party FOREVER!"

On the way home, we stopped at a fruit stand and ate fresh grapefruit. Dig in!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Doggie Discrimination

I consider myself an animal lover.

I always had pets growing up (dogs, cats, mice, turtles, fish, snakes - eww those were my brother's - my parents didn't hear my pleas against it) and still have a pet to this day (a small Jack Russell mix dog named, appropriately, Jack). When I visit someone's home who has pets, I always find myself sitting on the floor or couch curled up with the animals and scratching their bellies.

However, recently I've started seeing a new influx of pit bulls and bulldogs into my neighborhood and it makes me a little uneasy. I like to think of myself as a non-judgmental person (not that I don't have slips but I try not to judge others) but I have no qualms saying that I am openly discriminating against these dogs. Perhaps it's the pit bulls' aggressive nature that scares me. After all, I see them when I am out walking my (small) dog and usually with Olive at my side. What would I do if one of these beasts came after us? Sorry, Jack, but you'll have to fend for yourself...Olive & I are taking off. And a lot of these dogs around here are off the leash... "Oh, he's harmless". Hmm.... Well I'm just not comfortable with that. Perhaps my other fear is that I see who is walking these dogs and I guess that means I am discriminating against the people too. They are often a little shady looking, wearing hooded black sweatshirts and baggy jeans, smoking cigarettes and looking rough. Not the kind of guys you want to run across in a dark alley (or on a narrow sidewalk when you are walking your dog and toddler). Plus, not to mention...look at this dog's feet - how gross and creepy!!! For comparison sake, here's a picture of our friendly, lazy, dog Jack: Let me know your thoughts on the subject...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday's Tip: Watch a stupid movie

Sometimes we get so busy that we forget to take time out to do something just completely for fun, like watching a stupid movie that makes you laugh.
Last weekend, in the midst of the majority of the room transition (my office is becoming Olive's new room), Dennis and I took a break to relax and watch a comedy. We saw this movie, Role Models, which I think was surprisingly hilarious. It features Paul Rudd, Seann William Scott, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (McLovin from Superbad), along with Elizabeth Banks (Scrubs, Zack & Miri Make a Porno). Also featured is Jane Lynch (manager from 40 Year Old Virgin). The basis of this story is that these two guys (Rudd & Scott) work for an energy drink company and they get in trouble and have to do community service working with kids. This is their hilarious tale of the worst role models who turn out to be OK in the end. Lots of debuts by other actors from these sorts of funny movies (the party guy from Superbad, the doctor from Knocked Up, etc.) Definitely gave us a good laugh and provided a little respite from reality. Like many of the similar kinds of movies, the language is foul and it can be a little questionable for the pure of heart but certainly a lot of fun.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Book Review: Truelove & Homegrown Tomatoes by Julie Cannon

I'd had this book sitting on my shelf for awhile. It was one that my mom had read and passed along. It was pretty cute for a fun read. The story is about Imogene Lavender, who lost her husband of 48 years (I think) and is on the search for love again. This tells her funny search for love in all the wrong places for women over 60 in small town Georgia. Imogene is an avid gardener and homemaker and this story brings us to a simpler way of life. A good, fun, easy read. I plan to read the next installment - 'Mater Biscuit - at some point. This is defnitely a girly book so don't even think about making your husband read it. Those who grew up (or ever lived) in the South and/or the country will particularly appreciate some of the banter and expressions. For me, it shows me how different my life is and how "citified" and "Yankee" I've become ;) (not that these are bad things, just different!) In fact, just this weekend, Dennis asked me if I'd been teaching Olive to call her shoes "tennis shoes" or if I'd been calling them "sneakers" like he does. I sighed and hung my head in shame... "sneakies" I replied, as this is the cutesy term that Olive likes. Guess I've changed in some ways but it sure is good to read a "down home" story to reconnect with my comfort zone. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday's Tip: Deals to be Found

Spring is coming and it's time to stock up on some fresh new clothes and shoes! I've included some promotions going on right now to help you find just the right thing at just the right price.

Online only, now through March 16th
Receive $10 off any $50 or more purchase - use promotion code LOVE at checkout
Free Shipping with any purchase over $29 - use promotion code FSDSW at checkout*
*Requires a DSW membership - totally free rewards membership that entitles you to extra deals after you spend a certain amount

March 12-March 15
Give 'n Get Special - Friends & Family
Receive 30% off plus they will give 5% of what you spend to your favorite non-profit
Online or in stores at Banana Republic, Banana Republic Factrory Stores, GAP, GAP Outlet, and Old Navy
Sign up at their website today to receive an email with a barcode to be scanned and used as many times as you want in-store or a promotion code to be used once online

Monday, March 9, 2009


Sometimes I am totally inspired by a person, an event, a book, or something else. Most recently I have been inspired by reading the blog Green Mamma, written by an eco-conscious mom with a beautiful toddler girl and another one on the way. I do actually know this woman personally but not very well. I like her blog as she provides tips on green living, great kids activities, books to read, and other anecdotes on life. She is an advocate of attachment parenting and breastfeeding well into toddlerhood (two things that don't exactly describe me) but I like reading her thoughts and ideas. Most recently she has inspired me with a post from last Thursday, March 5th titled "Books . . . this is a long one". In this post I was reminded of many of the things I wish to accomplish in my life - one important one being empowering women. If you know anything about my business (little pink pansy), you know that it seeks to help women achieve their dreams. She is also into photography and posts some beautiful pictures, like the ones in today's post "Chirping Frogs". Check out her blog and see if it doesn't make you want to do something great for yourself, your family, your world, and others.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Great Deals on Cute Children's Bedding

We have decided to move Olive into our spare bedroom (currently it is my office) and give Baby Girl #2 all of the furniture and everything in Olive's room. Baby Girl #2 has gotten new bedding but will keep the same furniture and setup that's there now. Olive now will have a bigger room and a bigger bed etc. In doing our research, we've found lots of great things at some great prices. Depending on what you're looking for, these places might be worth a peek.

Company Kids is a branch of The Company Store - a great place for linens etc. Company Kids has adorable bed linens, rugs & windows, room decor, bed & bath, personalized items, bags, and furniture and storage. Their prices are pretty good to start with but they also have a Clearance center. I'm currently searching here for shams, sheets, and a bed skirt for Olive's new bed as well as a coordinating pillow or something for Baby Girl's room.

The children's counterpart to the home furnishings store, Pottery Barn Kids is even better with their selections. Beautiful bedding, bath, furniture, toys, clothes, etc. are easy to find here. The prices can be steep but they have excellent sales (both in store and online) and you can find some real steals if you keep your eyes open (this is how we decorated their bathroom for less than $50). Another great option for this store is if you can find a Pottery Barn Outlet - click here to see if there's one near you. Both girls' comforters have come from here as well as some towels and sheets.

If you're in the local DC metro area, there is a fabulous store in Manassas, VA called Baby2Teen. They have everything from strollers and rocking horses to TONS of furniture and bedding (for all ages and stages). This is where we found Olive's new bed. Be sure to also check out their clearance room for some excellent deals on discontinued items.

Last but certainly not least is IKEA. If you have one nearby, you've undoubtedly been there to peruse their enormous showroom and find deals on everything from couches to baking pans and EVERYTHING in between. IKEA is an experience, a wonderful chance to stock up on accent pieces or furniture without breaking the budget. You can also purchase online if you don't have one nearby. Some of their stuff is very good quality but most of it is stuff you don't plan to have forever and pass on to your grandchildren. However, for outfitting a child's room or finding some extra accessories, it is the place to go. They also have good deals on some babyproofing items, and in particular the mounted baby gates.

Hope you found our research helpful. We are still perusing mattress options. We did see some really nice and comfortable ones at IKEA the other day for very reasonable prices. If you have any other great places to search, please post a comment.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The snow is melting

We've had our biggest snow of the season here in Northern Virginia (around 6-8 inches). Unfortunately for Olive, I haven't been up for going to play in it so we've mostly watched it from inside the windows. Today the sun is shining and it's warming up - snow is melting. The steady sound of trickle can be heard outside, along with the occasional icicle dropping to the ground. Spring is coming, sooner or later. The temps are going to be up in the 50's this weekend so most of the snow should be gone soon. While it's pretty to see the snow, I'll be glad for warmer temperatures and the opportunity to let Olive run around outside. I haven't gotten any pictures of the snow but one thing Olive is really enjoying is shoveling it (isn't this a great skill to teach her??) Hope you've enjoyed the snow and had fun with snowmen, snow angels, or snowball fights!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Disney Princesses

Olive and I will be headed to Florida soon for a visit with my family. My mom and I decided that it might be time to take her to Disney World before the new baby comes. We have been looking for some fun extra activities while we're there and can I just say how fascinated she is by the Disney princesses?? I thought this would come a little later but she is SO excited to see the princesses. Mind you, she's never actually seen any of the Disney princess movies, but has princess panties and PJs, among other things, and so knows their names. Her favorite is Cinderella. At one of my doctor's appointments that she attended, there was a Cinderella book in the waiting room about Cinderella winning some cake-baking contest so this is what she thinks the Cinderella story is! How funny. If anyone has been to Disney recently, is there anything you'd recommend to do with a 2.5 year old princess fanatic?