Hair Today

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Julep is delayed this month, and so there are no boxes for the first few days of July. So now, you’re stuck with an anecdote from me.  This one is about my hair.

I know. Important, right?

After wearing my hair in a cute, short, pixie style for quite a while, I grew it out when I was pregnant a couple years ago because I thought that being able to put it in a ponytail as a new mom would be helpful.  And it was.  And has been. The added bonus is that my husband always comments on how much he likes my hair, as apparently most heterosexual men seem to have a thing for long hair over a  short-and-tight.  Lately, though, I am getting the itch to go back to my easy-breezy pixie again. Most of what is stopping me is that, one, I still have about 20 pounds of baby weight (um, how long do you get to call it baby weight and not just “weight”?) on me, which makes me feel that I cannot as easily pull off the short cut like I used to be able to. And two, the aforementioned husband and his aforementioned praise of the aforementioned long hair. In thinking about this decision, I have come up with a list of things that did not happen to me when I had short hair, but that regularly happen to me now.

When I had short hair I did  not:

  1.  Accidentally roll my hair up in my car window and then unwittingly yank a bunch of it out as I tried to open the door.
  2. Choke on my hair. On what is sadly becoming a fairly regular basis.  What IS that?!
  3. Apply lipgloss and then immediately have my hair plastered across my mouth upon walking outside into even the slightest breeze
  4. Have hair ALL over my bathroom and clothing and pillow and, well, everything.  I now shed worse than our elderly Australian Shepherd mix.
  5. Have the ability to swing my hair across my son’s face in a tickl-y way, which has made him squeal with laughter since he was tiny.
  6. Pay a kerbillion dollars to my stylist for getting my hair colored
  7. Spend a vast portion of my day as a slave to my blow-dryer, and then just give up and wear a ponytail, like, 75% of the time. Because of how it makes being a mom easier.  Even at the office.

However, with my long hair I do not:

  1. Get asked if I am a boy or a girl on a regular basis
  2. Look like a man while wearing a hat, helmet or any other sort of head-covering, such as a paper bag
  3. Wake up looking like Michael Keaton in Beetlejuice
  4. Attempt weekly to maim or kill my Dyson Animal by sucking up elastic ties from the carpet
  5. Have to buy said elastic ties 50 at a time every couple of months because I cannot keep track of those damn things. (note to self: check vacuum cleaner)
  6. Feel the need to wear full-face makeup and large earrings all the time to still feel like I look feminine
  7. Feel like my double chin is always on display.

So, that is my pro-con list.  What should I do?

Happy Mommy Box Review- January 2014

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Happy Mommy Box came yesterday in the mail, and I was so excited to get my second one, having really liked a lot of the stuff in the first one. This one had a lot of great items in it, including some super cuter jewelry. There were a couple issues, too, but I am chalking that up to them still being a new box company. Here are the goods:

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I was excited to see the containers and couldn’t wait to check out the indie jewelry. Happy Mommy Box is a fairly new monthly subscription box geared towards cool stuff to make moms happy. They always try to include a little item for the kids, too, like a snack or toy, but it is mostly about a little spoiling for mom, which I am all about. Happy Mommy Box is $29 per month, plus an initial sign-up fee of another $29. (making your first box $58 and then $29 thereafter) Here are the details:

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Happy Mommy Box always includes a little hanging-up worthy quote. I thought this one was sweet, and I am going to pass it on to a certain friend who would like this one very much.

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Pop-it airtight containers: ($15) As far as I’m concerned, it would take a lot of portable, lidded containers before we ever had enough. I have great sets of OXO stuff that I used to use when I made baby purees all the time, but those are actually getting kind of small for bigger kid portions. These are awesome. Airtight, microwave and dishwasher safe, great sizes and great for storing. They get awesome reviews on amazon, too.

Pirate’s Booty: ($0.75) Pirate’s Booty is basically a staple around here, so an extra never hurts. We don’t give our son this everyday, but it is his favorite, and it is simply organic puffed corn and cheese, not the most healthy thing in the world, but not candy and Chee-tos either. We definitely never take a day-trip or airplane ride without Pirate’s Booty.

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Chobani magnet and coupons- So, I did not assign a value to this because, while I was SO excited for free yogurt coupons, especially for something we love and buy, these coupons are EXPIRED. They have a date of 12/31/13, and guess what, it is 2014.  It’s weird how disappointed I felt about this. Obviously, it is not the end of the world, or even a big deal, but it is just an attention to detail thing that I found kind of lame. The magnet is cool, as it gives all the conversions to use when using Chobani to replace things like oil, sour cream, mayo, etc in recipes. It is on the fridge, and we will use it, but the expired coupons are annoying.

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Mug from CrystalFaye.com: ($18) Ok, so at first I thought this mug was a promo item since it has the website printed on it so prominently, but they do sell these on their site for $18. It is cute, but not totally my thing, plus, if I am going to pay $18 for a mug, I think that it should just have the cute saying on it and not be an advertisement. Am I missing something? Is CrystalFaye.com such a cool thing that it is cool to have it on the mug? I have been super unaware of cool stuff like that before, so benefit of the doubt and all. I will pass it on to my friend from Georgia, who will like the cute, peachy design.

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Love both of these cute jewelry items!

The Poppy Chain hammered brass stud earrings: ($7) These are so cute and versatile. I love little studs like this, especially for just running errands, you know, those times when you are probably going to wear yoga pants and tennies but still want to look a little girly and like you put some effort in.  Wait, am I the only one who does this?  I also love earrings like this for when I am wearing a big statement necklace. This shop has tons of cute stuff, too.  Yay for discovering new etsy artists, something Happy Mommy Box is really big on.

Jilly Bean Jewelry necklace: ($9.99) This is a cute printed necklace that says inspire on it from another indie jewelry maker. I love the gold, and the matted gold chain is cute, too, and is long enough that it can be worn over a collar as is the trend right now.

All told, the January Happy Mommy Box had a value of about $55 for the $29 price tag. I was pretty annoyed by getting expired coupons, but the cute jewelry makes me happy, and I love the containers. I am going to give this box another month, since I know they are still starting out and I like the concept. They do promise to send their monthly magazine in each box, and that was not here. Not sure if it was just forgotten or if there wasn’t one this month. Looking forward to seeing what these ladies can bring.

Mommy Mondays- Initiation

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Feeling a bit better.

Because I am a writer by trade and by brain, I have chosen Monday as the day that I will take a short break from reviewing subscription boxes and talking parties and stuff to write a bit about life as a mom, toddlerhood, family stuff, life stuff, basically anything I feel like doing a little babbling about. If you just want box reviews, feel free to keep scrolling, they are down there!

*In addition, this post contains mentions of toddler bodily functions and the related wrath.

In our lives as parents, my husband and I have been extremely lucky on so many fronts, and I do not take that for granted. We have a healthy, sweet boy who will be two in April. And while I would never trade his general healthiness for any amount of sleep, we were lucky on that front, too. He has been a great sleeper most of his life, sleeping through the night beginning around eight weeks old, and, besides the occasional week here and there where a cold or upset tummy would wake him up, he has generally logged 11 straight hours a night. I have watched friends who struggled with colicky kids or kids who just aren’t good sleepers, and I felt genuinely bad for them, while in the same breath feeling so thankful for my solid eight hours every single night.  What I didn’t realize is that I am now completely spoiled.

Enter the holiday hell of 2013. We left our home in Colorado to spend six days with my husband’s parents in the Bay area on Christmas afternoon. We got to their house after D’s bedtime on Christmas night, and he fell fast asleep in his travel crib right away, leaving us to sit upstairs having a glass of wine and settling in. We went to bed a couple of hours later.

We woke up around 1am California time to our son making unfamiliar noises. We both jumped up, and Mike scooped him out of his crib. Our baby had vomited. Not something he does often, but hey, we’d been on a plane and he’d had juice for the first time ever (a small, watered-down bribe on the flight). It was surely just a one-time thing.

Over the next few days, he would throw up about a gazillion times. Oh, and he would also poop his pants approximately a million times in various explosive manners. He would cover both of us in things we never expected to be covered in, including one incident that involved me getting in the shower partially clothed at midnight, a veritable double baptism that I consider to have fully initiated me into real parenthood. Throughout and because of all of these violent excretions, D woke up no less than five times a night. Every single night. We were away from our home, all three of us exhausted and sharing a bedroom that was now semi-rancid, sleeping on a futon, no diaper pail or changing table in sight. I do not remember being that tired when our son was a newborn; I couldn’t possibly have been. I shed many tears on that trip for various reasons, but mostly because I was broken by worry, running on absolute empty, and not even slightly in control.

Following a flight where we took turns holding our ticking time bomb of a toddler while he slept peacefully, we arrived home incident-free.  We entered our house, greeted our dogs, perused a few holiday cards, and then watched and listened as our sweet, blue-eyed son filled his diaper and the leg of his pajamas and then walked directly to his changing table to request some new clothing and possibly a once-over with a power washer. We laughed at his perfect timing and felt so much relief at avoiding an airplane horror, and then we suffered again all night as he woke up every single hour.

His stomach bug ran its course, and he had one healthy morning and afternoon explosion-free. But that night he again woke up several times, this time with a steadier digestive system, but plagued with high fevers. The next day, the pediatrician told us to wait it out. That was five days ago, and our first night of more than five hours’ sleep was last night. He slept well, woke up at five ready to play, and seemed totally fine.

Then today, before I even knew what was happening, he was running a temperature of 103. I called the doctor, and she said to keep waiting it out.

I guess I’m not sure why I’m revealing all of this. Maybe it is to explain why I have been a little MIA for the past two weeks. Maybe it is to seek a little sympathy from the other moms out there (because seriously, holy hell). Maybe it is just to get it out of my system and try to sort out what to be insanely worried about versus what’s totally normal for a toddler with a virus. All I know is that there have been times throughout the last two years, including during my late pregnancy, when I have become acutely aware of why so many people (used to?) have children in their 20s instead of their late 30s, and this is one of those times. I’m tired and worried. I’m completely worn out, annoyed with the doctors who don’t seem to realize that my particular child is the most important center of the universe, and sore from constantly lugging around the sickly 26-pounder who normally insists on walking. But mostly, I am something I didn’t realize I was and apparently have been this entire time, and that is a real mom. Shit got real, (literally) but, even unemployed,  slightly chubbier than my fighting weight, and covered in baby vomit shrapnel, I’m still the luckiest person in the world. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to slam this glass of wi–Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Citrus Lane Review December 2013

Citrus Lane is another one that came yesterday. I will be all caught up on reviews by tomorrow with all the ones that came, but figured I could squeeze Citrus Lane in real quick. Citrus Lane is a monthly box for kids that is curated basd on age and gender. Our box is for a 20-month old boy. As I was trying to photograph this box, D went a little nuts over the contents, so I managed to miss a photo of the entire box. So, I am skipping my “here are the goods” photo and moving right on to here are the details:

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Pearhead Handprint Art set: ($10?) The only ones like this I can find online are for sets of four of these for $24, so I am calling this one $10. (speaking of which, websites without a search function drive me nuts)  This comes with the canvas, paint and tray for dipping hands in. I already know who we are gifting this, to. My mother-in-law will probably really enjoy making this with D over the holidays to hang on her wall. She likes crafty stuff and she likes him, so I think it will be a hit for the little gift exchange we are doing while we are in California.

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I Took The Moon for a Walk: ($7.19) This is a great little book, and while D is currently into about four books that are the only ones he will even think about reading, he always changes his selections eventually. I think this will work its way in there soon. I always like getting books in kid boxes.

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Melissa and Doug Stacker: ($7.99) This was the item that D pried out of my hands whilst I was trying to get a photo, and so here is the photo I could get of it. Already missing a couple pieces and stacked on our hardwood floors (which are just old, not dirty…well, they are probably dirty, too, but mostly just very lived on in our 100 year old house) I got this same stacker in our Bluum box last month (you can find a better photo in that review), and so that one, which I managed to hide unopened will go to D’s school so all the kids can use it. He loves this, and Melissa and Doug is a favorite brand around here.

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Snuggly Lotion from Episencial: ($9.00) The link is for the 8 oz, but the size that was in the box was the 3.4 oz. We love this brand, too, and extra lotion is always handy for everyone in Colorado. We slather the kid nightly with it, so it is always nice to have more good quality lotion to spare.

Um, that is it. This was not my favorite Citrus Lane box. There was no mommy item this month, and most of the items were things I had seen before in Citrus Lane boxes. I like the brands, but part of why I like boxes is to be introduced to new things that other moms might not know about yet. Last month’s box was a much better mix. All told, I calculate the value to be around $34. Not terrible, not amazing. What did you think of your Citrus Lane this month?

This post contains referral links.

Happy Mommy Box Review for December 2013

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YAY! The Happy Mommy Box has arrived.  This is my first Happy Mommy Box from this new subscription box company. I was on their waiting list for a few weeks, and got this one late last night via UPS. It is a really fun box.

 

 

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Happy Mommy Box is a monthly box geared toward moms (duh.) and calls themselves a monthly care package full of fun surprises to motivate and brighten the days of the moms who receive it.  I would say that it definitely fits the bill.The Happy Mommy Box is $29 per month plus a one-time $29 sign-up fee,so I am feeling like I paid $58 for this first box and will pay $29 from here on out. Here are the goods:

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Pardon my terrible picture. I swear the others are not as bad. Happy Mommy Box contains mostly items for moms, but has a kid item or two, too, for happy kids. Here are the details:

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Ok, I lied.  This photo is not that much better, but here goes anyway.

Kiki LaRue Pearl Earrings: ($15?) I am estimating this price because I don’t see these earrings on their site. I do see lots of other cute stuff, though.  These are a nice size, and I think they will look lovely with my holiday party outfit for Saturday.  There is also a coupon code included for 10% off a purchase at kikilarue.com. Nice!

Kate Aspen Manicure Kit: ($8) This is a cute little purse-shaped item with mani tools inside. Here is the inside:

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Clippers, file, tweezers, scissors; the gang’s all there.  I will probably not use this, but it will make a great addition to a nail polish gift, something I give often because of the nail polish I get in my boxes. Cute.

 

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Green Bubble Gorgeous holiday bath set: ($20?) I am estimating this price based on the items in this etsy shop. This is a great little shop that I am glad to discover and this gift kit is adorable. Here’s a better shot:

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It smells amazing and contains two small holiday soaps, a lip balm, natural “Cold Season” bath salts, and a mini shower pouf. All packed in a cute little reusable plastic gift bag. I think the bath salts would be so nice to give with some of my awesome homemade chicken soup next time a friend is sick, and I want the lipbalm for myself as always, so I am breaking up this cute little set, but it is super cute, and I love to discover new artisans. Score.

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Sweet Lulu Paper Straws: ($4) I love paper straws, and I will be putting these at the bar at our big annual holiday cocktail party on Saturday. This cute little, New-York based party shoppe has adorable things if you love entertaining like I do.

Happy Family Toddler Bar: ($1.50) This berry toddler snack bar will get eaten as soon as it is seen by my 20-month old son. We jokingly call him Baby Bear because he eats so many berries, so we got the perfect flavor for him. These bars are organic and gluten free.  We buy their pouches fairly regularly, but this will be the first bar of theirs we’ve tried. The box also included a few grocery coupons for Happy Family items, as well as a handy card for the fridge that reminds which fruits and veggies are the most important to buy organic.

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Calendar Stickers: ($3) This is a handy set of stickers for the calendar with all the appointments and social outings that a mom might need to put on her schedule. I will probably gift these since I don’t use a paper calendar, but they are super cute.  They also come with a 25% coupon code for pikcal.com which I may use on a photobook if I ever get it together enough to actually put one together.

Happy Mommy Box also includes their magazine and a little hang-able quote in each box. This month’s quote says Bless Your Heart, which makes me laugh because it is what my friends and I jokingly say when someone is a hot mess.  And guess what? I am a hot mess on a regular basis, so my heart needs blessing, too.  In addition to all of the items in the box, there were coupons, too, most notably one for Mom and Pop photo school, which I clearly need after the crappy round of photos for this post. (not sure what the deal is today, but I’m blaming the weather and weird light right now) This coupon offers discounts on the Mom and Pop courses, as well as a free download of their 27-page guide, called Mom’s Guide to Great Photos, valued at $29. I will definitely download this, because I know if I could just get some basics, I could be a rockstar with my fancy camera.

All told, the Happy Mommy Box had a value of around $50 before the photo school download coupon, and $79 if you include that, which I am since it does not require a purchase. For the initial $58 dollar price tag and $29 monthly thereafter, I think that is a great deal. In addition, I discovered some new small businesses, I am patronizing a new subscription box company, and I love the quote and magazine, too. All super cool things. This might just be one of my new favorite boxes.  A Happy Mommy, indeed.

Mommy Mondays: Holiday Ho-Hum

Because I am a writer by trade and by brain, I have chosen Monday as the day that I will take a short break from reviewing subscription boxes and talking parties and stuff to write a bit about life as a mom, toddlerhood, family stuff, life stuff, basically anything I feel like doing a little babbling about. If you just want box reviews, feel free to keep scrolling, they are down there! 

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The iconic Joni Mitchell

It’s funny how poor timing can make even your favorite things feel off. With Thanksgiving so late in November this year, everyone is getting ready for Christmas early, not just the retailers. Friends are posting Christmas tree photos on Facebook, people are already sending cards, and the stores, of course, are completely decked out for Christmas while the few Thanksgiving and harvest decorations have been cast aside into clearance bins. Even the radio station that plays all holiday music and nothing but holiday music from Thanksgiving until Christmas every year has started early. That particular radio station, in fact, was what clued me in to my less than stellar mood. My husband, knowing my propensity to get giddy over holiday music, stealthily switched the station and turned it on this weekend. But instead of being excited about it, I felt suddenly accosted. I asked him to switch it back.

I am normally a total holiday nerd, donning a Santa hat, sending out 200 cards, and begging to put up the tree as soon after Thanksgiving as my poor husband can stand. I love the decor and the cooking and the smells, and I love the shopping and the giving and the parties. And I love the general feeling of happiness and cheer about the snow and the cold, because, after all, who does not dream of a white Christmas? But I wasn’t ready this year. I don’t know if it is the fact that every part of our lives still feels as if it is hanging in the balance or that I feel so useless as I am figuring out my career transition without anything completely definitive to grasp on to. Or maybe it isn’t me, and everyone else with their damn holiday cheer and red and green decorations up BEFORE Halloween are the crazy ones.  Although, to be honest, it is usually me.

I sat wondering what was wrong with me for awhile this morning. D is sick again, so I was sitting in the car in the parking lot of the pediatrician (where they told me he does not have bronchitis again, but I KNOW he does because I KNOW my boy, and if the timing is as it has been the last few times, it will get really bad right on Thanksgiving) D was snoozing in his car seat, and we were a few minutes early, so I sat drinking coffee, staring at my sweet, sleepy boy, and wondering what the hell my problem was. And what occurred to me was that I didn’t go through that stage this year where Fall arrives and I spend a few days crazily missing my mom like I have every other year. My mom was the champion of holiday love and traditions and her joy for Thanksgiving and Christmas was completely contagious. Each year as October closes, I always end up spending a few days in introspective moping, missing her, lamenting her short life, feeling cheated, and then eventually getting on with it and whipping my bad self into holiday shape. Cookies need baking, presents need wrapping, and the cards need to be meticulously written. But I guess with a toddler and our whole lives in tumultuous uproar, I somehow forgot to mope this year, and then it snuck up on me. I never got it out of my system. I heard Joni Mitchell sing River too early and I wasn’t ready, and before I knew it I was in tears driving down the road. I smelled the pine and cinnamon too soon, and it made me sad instead of giddy. I thought about going to cut down our tree and just felt like getting it over with instead of loading the car with snacks and mittens and happy dogs and enough holiday CDs to get us up the mountain pass and back without ever repeating a song.

Maybe now that I realize what was going on in my stimulus-riddled brain, I can try to find my normal holiday spirit and get on with it and find my happy place. I can let myself be a little sad and then whip myself into shape. I can remember the lady who was the the best at holidays and try to emulate her instead of whining about how my son will never experience Grandma done exactly right. There are fifteen people headed my way on Thursday, and I am expected, as always, to reprise my role as the queen of happy holidays and all things traditional. That gives me three days to get my shit together.

Mommy Mondays- Firm and Gentle

Because I am a writer by trade and by brain, I have chosen Monday as the day that I will take a short break from reviewing subscription boxes and talking parties and stuff to write a bit about life as a mom, toddlerhood, family stuff, life stuff, basically anything I feel like doing a little babbling about. If you just want box reviews, feel free to keep scrolling, they are down there! 

Mike hadn’t walked out the door to head to the airport but three minutes prior when D fell forehead first into the corner of the side table. He was doing what normal toddlers do, just toddling around. And I was sitting right there staring at him as he toddled. He tripped over nothing I could see and then he was down and screaming and hurt. So much blood. So. Much. Blood.
I scooped him up, ran to the the linen closet for a soft cloth, and began applying pressure. He was screaming and fighting the towel, but I pressed it to his little forehead and said every soothing word I knew, trying to summons a mix of Norah Jones and Yanni. I felt calm, but my heart was racing. I pulled the cloth away, and his head spurted and blood poured down his face over his tiny nose and lips, so again, I pressed, firm and gentle at the same time, scared to let go.
Firm and gentle. Do not be aghast at the blood on your sweet, little boy. Be firm. And be gentle. And then let go and look beneath.
I watched the clock to time for two minutes, as I simultaneously scanned the room for my shoes and purse and the diaper bag, wondering how I would drive and maintain pressure on his head at the same time. Ready to go to the ER, calm, cool, collected. Two minutes was up. I pulled back the cloth, and the bleeding had stopped. It was a gash, but it wasn’t serious. It was a Band-Aid gash, not an emergency-room gash. I exhaled for what seemed like the first time. Band-Aid, Neosporin, Tylenol, the brand names moms trust. And then he asked for a pretzel, which I gave to him and let him munch on my lap instead of, as the rules mandate, in his booster chair at the table. He ate three pretzels in quick succession, had a few sippie-sips of water, and then promptly fell asleep in my arms. Which is, of course, when I stopped worrying about the gash and started worrying about a concussion. I consulted my intuition, decided he was probably ok, and laid him in his crib to sleep off his shitty morning, knowing I would be checking on him every ten minutes.
I walked out of the nursery and sat on the couch. I sunk back into the cushion, breathing and thinking and getting my heart rate back to normal, and then I made the mistake of looking down. My shirt was covered in blood. From my shoulder, where I had instinctively snuggled him in, down to my waist, the blood had soaked in in red pools and droplets and brown splatters and smears. And that is when I started to cry. That is when my brain let the fear out.
I am the mother of, as the pediatrician put it, a “very busy” boy who will be two in April. This will not be even remotely close to the last time that he bleeds and injures himself. This will not be the last time that he gives me a scare or needs some love and Band-Aids and pretzels. It will probably not be the last time I ponder, and then possibly have to go through with, a trip to the ER. It will not be the last time I shed secret tears over the vision of blood on his pale skin. I know he will be a cyclist and a skier and an adventurer like his dad. (The first two words he strung together were “daddy’s bike”, although that may just be because my husband insists on leaving his bike in the living room about half the time.)  With those things will come cuts and bruises and surely worse, but hopefully never the worst. And I have to be on board with all of that activity, because, though I have occasional urges to deny this, I do want a child who takes risks and tries new things and has a lifetime full of adventures. He’s going to get broken and bleed and cry, and I know that accepting that, my secret fantasy of putting him in a bubble notwithstanding, is just part of being a parent.
Even though that first bloody gash is probably an inconsequential blip on the radar of parenting, it was enough to jolt me a little bit, to remind me of the risk that is involved in parenting, where your ultimate goal is to send your most precious thing out into a world full of table corners, and let them hack it out for themselves. I was reminded that while it is fine to serve and protect, that backing off is healthy, and that a gash here and there is good for him.  And that parenting, for the rest of our lives, will follow the cadence: firm and gentle and then let go.