Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Coolest Thing I Ever Upcycled is also My Proudest Creation...

...which is great because those are TWO of the five official blogging topics for the $5,000 GE Appliance Giveaway!  So in the interest of winning us a cool $5,000 smacker-ooos which would be so very, very appreciated in this the-dishwasher-sometimes-gets-stuck-in-heat-up-mode and the washer-sometimes-doesn't-empty-the-water household, I'm reposting this amazing, awesome-sauce reverse stencil dresser project that I completed this Summer for my son's big-boy bedroom.  Seriously, this project is without a shadow of a doubt the coolest DIY project I have ever accomplished...if you search for 'reverse stencil dresser' on Pinterest you get hundreds of hits of this dresser.  It is my greatest brush with fame thusfar in my life.

So, without further ado...the full Reverse Stencil Dresser post:


I did it!!

Remember that craaaaaZZy pants idea I had about reverse stenciling a ship onto a Craigslist-dresser-find?  Well...I did I have now gone from this:

to THIS!! can stop reading here and just admire the pretty reverse stenciling (pardon my complete lack of modesty...I'm ridiculously proud of this dresser)  OR you can read on for the step-by-step process...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I miss him.

Apologies for anyone who has already seen this on my has been a loooong, sad, frustrating day and I got thrown under the bus several times plus I'm pretty sure I have the flu.  Or Mono.  Or maybe just a head cold paired with incalculable amounts of lost sleep.

In addition to everything else that's going on, today I am thinking about Rhode Island Luaus, Cereal, the Aflac duck, a big orange kitty and this essay I wrote earlier in the year: For My Dad on His Day.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


At the end of February, Little G and I visited my mom in Pennsylvania.  While there, we discovered I was pregnant!

In March, we visited my brother and sister-in-law in Rochester, NY to meet our new nephew.  Here we are at the butterfly exhibit in the Children's Museum.

In April, we headed out to the Frozen Four Hockey Tournament in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Then I traveled back to PA for a girl's weekend to watch the Royal Wedding and hit up the Spa at the Hershey Hotel!

In May, my husband and I took an amazing trip to Cascais, Portugal.

While in Cascais, we spent a day wandering around Lisbon.

In July, we celebrated the 4th in the Adirondacks.

Then I got to take a quick mommy-only overnight trip to Philadelphia to see U2 with my sister.

The month rounded out with our yearly trip to the Jersey Shore.

Finally, in late September, we headed to the Vinyards of the North Fork of Long Island for a family wedding.

The year was filled with so many amazing and fun travel opportunities.  I am so incredibly thankful to be able to do these fun things with my family throughout the year.

I am participating in WEverb11 this year (to the best of my abilities, what with a newborn in the house).  The prompt for December 7 was:


Where did you travel this year? What was your favorite part? If you didn’t get to travel, where do you want to go next year?

Tuesday, December 06, 2011


July is the beginning of the summer when there is still promise of what is to come. July is when we celebrate our nation's and my son's birthdays. This year, July meant my in-laws coming to visit, a trip to Philly (without a toddler) to see U2, an extended time of vacation at my mom and sister's house and of course, our yearly trip to the beach.

I grew up a mile from the ocean. I'm a Jersey Girl. Not of the MTV variety...but of the Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Down-the-Shore variety. My family has all transplanted elsewhere around the country, but we still yearn for summer at the beach. A couple of years ago, my sister and I decided to stop talking about getting back to the beach and go for it. We wanted to introduce our kids to the roar of the waves and the joy of skidding along them on a boogie board. To the beauty of the ocean first thing in the morning and the chaos of the beach in the middle of the afternoon. And to how much sweeter ice cream tastes when there is salt on your lips.

We go in July and thus my year is neatly divided into two parts...I spend August through December remembering how great the beach was and January through June looking forward to our next trip.

July was my favorite month of 2011 and I am already looking forward to it being my favorite month of 2012.

I am participating in WEverb11 this year (to the best of my abilities, what with a newborn in the house).  The prompt for December 6 was:


What was your favorite month of 2011? Why did it beat out all 11 other months?

Learn more about WEverb11 and sign up to receive the prompts

Monday, December 05, 2011


Little G and I had stepped quickly into a store in our neighborhood - one of several in a small enclave of boutiques and restaurants in our little corner of the bigger city.  The resident doggie came over to the stroller for some sniffs and a woman commented that her children would love to see the doggie too.  With that, a new friend was made.

She has twins, a few months younger than Little G.  She lives two blocks away from me.  She's witty and smart and fun and awesome and her children and Little G get along well.  But I rarely get to see her.  Our schedules are different and Little G is in daycare now, full time.

We catch up via blogs and Facebook - we know the comings and goings of our lives.  But we haven't connected in person in many months.  Too many.  Thankfully the good thing about good new-friends is that the REALLY good ones are like really good OLD-friends: you can be apart long periods of time, yet reconnect really well no matter how long you've been separated - a bit like lost puzzle pieces.

I am participating in WEverb11 this year (to the best of my abilities, what with a newborn in the house).  The prompt for December 5 was:


Did you meet any new friends this year? How did they impact your 2011?

Learn more about WEverb11 and sign up to receive the prompts

Sunday, December 04, 2011


Cascais, U2, Beach
Her presence felt everywhere
And then she arrived

I am participating in WEverb11 this year (to the best of my abilities, what with a newborn in the house).  The prompt for December 4 is:

Write a Haiku

Sum up your year, via haiku.

Learn more about WEverb11 and sign up to receive the prompts

Saturday, December 03, 2011


The day was sticky and we were both tired.  Our plans to meet a friend had fallen through, but we still needed to get some lunch before the long trek home on the train and bus with our vegetable share.  Little G and I sat at a lunch counter and looked out at the passing traffic.  Our conversation was a combination of him requesting various forbidden things - chips, cookies, to get down and run among the customers waiting in line, to be all done with his hot dog, to go visit the fire truck that just passed by - and him pointing out as many things as he could recognize and insisting that I repeat his words.  By the end of lunch we were both tired of each other.

As I packed up our lunch things and tidied our crumbs, a woman about my own mother's age caught my eye and said, "you have so much patience".  My dreary eyes welled with tears.  Patience is not my gift; I've had to learn it.

It is a lesson learned every day as I mother a spirited child.  Sometimes I think I've got it down; many times I fail miserably.  Always, it is one of the most important things I can give my child.

I am participating in WEverb11 this year (to the best of my abilities, what with a newborn in the house).  The prompt for December 3 was:


What lesson did you learn in 2011 from “The School of Life” rather than a classroom?

Learn more about WEverb11 and sign up to receive the prompts

Friday, December 02, 2011


The other day I watched an episode of Glee on the DVR.  The Glee club was doing its best to honor a member who needed some help accepting who she was and they sang Pink's anthem, Less Than Perfect.

I wrote about this song earlier in the year as it truly spoke to me every time I heard it and it encouraged me no matter what mood I was in to stop and think and believe in myself as a good mother to my son.

As I look back at 2011, Less Than Perfect is the one song that truly comes to mind as one that could completely change my mood.

Looking forward to 2012, I can only imagine that there will be much more music in my life.  Children's laughter will most certainly permeate the air of our home and that is the best music of all.

I am participating in WEverb11 this year (to the best of my abilities, what with a newborn in the house).  The prompt for December 2 was:


What song did you listen to in 2011 to completely change your mood? Think about ways you can you add more music to your life in 2012.

Learn more about WEverb11 and sign up to receive the prompts

Some final thoughts on my birthing experience

I had a few other things I wanted to take note of before closing the book on my birthing experience.  Bear with me as I plow through these:

  • When I was about to leave for the hospital I had a moment where I got very, very emotional about the support team we had in place to take care of Little G.  The logistics surrounding the birth event were going to be potentially complex and without knowing what day or time I was going to go in labor just made it even more confusing.  We don't have any family that lives closer than a 7.5 hour drive, so having a support system in place was key to my being able to relax when I eventually DID go into labor.

    In those moments before we left for the hospital, as I was thinking about our support team, I became overwhelmed with gratitude and thanksgiving.  Some of the friends involved we've known for years, some we know more closely than others, some we only just met a year ago...but they are all such important parts of our lives and I am eternally grateful not only for their willingness to be heavily involved with the plans and logistics of getting Little G taken care of but for their friendship and support.  See...I'm gonna cry again.

  • I am so glad I downloaded a contractions timer app for my iPhone.  I had downloaded it a few weeks prior when I had been having contractions about every 10 minutes.  They were Braxton Hicks, but it was still interesting to see the patterns.  Even now, looking back, it has been invaluable as a resource to see exactly what was going on at what point during the day.  The app I downloaded was called Full Term and it was so simple to use.  Just a button saying stop and start, plus the ability to erase the last contraction (if you got button happy) or erase the whole history (if you weren't sure if you were in labor and started the timer a week early or something foolish like that :).  I also liked that it allowed me to see the intervals since the last contraction and the average over the hour. Tracking my contractions like that all day long was actually a great way to keep my mind focused. Lastly, I was able to download the whole thing into a spreadsheet to keep for my records.  I highly recommend it.

  • Working with our doula again was one of the best decisions we made.  My husband likes to joke that he wished he had her job because she just shows up for a few minutes until someone has a baby and then she's done.  But her job is so much more than that!  First off, for most people, birth takes waaaaaaay longer than it did both times for us :).  Secondly, even though my births were both fast, the level of support she offered along the way was invaluable.

    Probably the biggest value to me, and the number one reason why I am so glad we hired her again, was the fact that while I was convulsing on the table after giving birth, she was there with me holding my hand, explaining what was going on and keeping me calm while my husband was with our new baby.  Additionally, being able to call her during the day and get her opinion on things and listen to her advice was so helpful.  She also was a huge support while we were in the car driving to the hospital...I was in transition through some of that drive and I just don't think I could have done it without her.  Lastly, it was so great to be able to talk to her about my birth experience afterwards.  Both births, she has made an appointment to visit with us a couple of weeks after we got home and her perspective has been amazingly helpful.  I wouldn't have been able to pull together my birth stories without her additional information.

    When I first got pregnant with Ladybug, my husband asked if I wanted to call our doula again and work with her.  To be honest, I wasn't sure it was necessary but I told him if it made him more comfortable, than we should do it.  Now that I have experienced birth as a newbie and as a veteran, both times with a doula at my side, I can say that it was totally worth it to have her there, I would work with her for any other pregnancies we may/may not have and I highly recommend to all expecting mothers to work hiring a doula into any birth plan and/or budget.

The original birth story

Some thoughts on my birthing experince
Some more thoughts on my birthing experience

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Choose One Word

Everything from my business to my belly grew this year.  My family grew last month.  My heart grew the instant my daughter was born.  My patience for my son grew over the long summer.  My love for my husband grew daily as he helped support our family.  It has been a year filled with so many things and events and happenings as our calendars grew over over the course of the year.  Challenged to encapsulate the year with one word, I choose growth.

A year from now, as I look back over the year, I hope to be able to answer this challenge with the word present.  My world is ever evolving and changing and, yes, growing - and it is incredibly hard to stay in the moment.  Especially when mothering within the confines of the lonely stay-at-home existence makes it so luring to be continuously plugged in.  This year, I hope to be present in my life, my husband's life and my children's lives - to allow myself the freedom to release myself from the online world enough to be present in my own world.


I am participating in WEverb11 this year (to the best of my abilities, what with a newborn in the house).  The prompt for December 1 was:

Choose One Word

Encapsulate the year 2011 in one word. Explain why. Imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2012 for you.

In the spirit of where this all started… this is the same first prompt from 2010.

Learn more about WEverb11 and sign up to receive the prompts

Some more thoughts on my birthing experience

Our doula came over a couple of weeks ago to follow up with us, as she did in the weeks after Little G was born too.  Along with getting to meet Ladybug again, we talked about the birth experience and compared our various stories.  It was really great to see her again.  If you think about it, this is someone that has been with us for both of the most momentous occasions of our lives...and then when all is said and done, she walks away from the hospital and on to her next family.  Setting time to get together when things calm down a bit is a great way to get some closure - especially this time, since the birth was SO fast.

Talking with her also gave me a chance to discuss some of the feelings I had immediately after giving birth with someone who has a bit more experience than my husband...who has just as much insight as I have, having only done this once before.  Here are a few things we discussed beyond the basic birth story that I found interesting.

  • When we got to the hospital, we both had a fear that the nurses wouldn't LET me give birth there!

    My OB had given me instructions to call his answering service before heading to the hospital.  He was out of town at a conference and had practically begged me not to go into labor before he got back since he missed Little G's birth too!  Just prior to leaving for the hospital, we called the answering service and let them know I was on the way.  I wasn't privy to the conversation because I was in deep labor somewhere away from the phone, so I don't know how the conversation went.

    The hospital where I delivered has two registration areas, one for ER and one for Maternity.  The Maternity registration desk is on the total opposite side of the hospital from the ER, but since we didn't know how late the Maternity registration desk was open, we headed to the ER.  When we got there, an orderly whisked me up to Labor and Delivery and my doula was practically running along his side he was going so fast.  We got to L&D and the nurses were all standing around a desk and they all looked up at me and said "Who are you?"

    I was pretty discouraged at that moment so I went into logistical-coordinator-in-an-emergency mode and very calmly said "My name is -----, My doctor is Dr. -----, I am in labor and going to have a baby soon and I would like to take my boots off and get some warm socks".  The nurses moved verrrrrry slowly to get me into a room and into a gown.  Looking back, both my doula and I both had a momentary thought that they weren't going to let me have a baby there!  My doula explained to me that in the nurses' defense, they had no idea I was coming and then I just showed up and said I was having a baby.  Since I was so calm, they had absolutely no idea I was at 8 cm!  Apparently most women at 8 cm can't even talk or function well, so by just looking at me, they thought I was in early labor!

    To the nurses credit, once things got moving just a few moments after that, they were on. the. ball.  Like amazingly so.  They all worked together like a very well oiled machine and by the time the whole experience was over you could feel a dynamic shift in their attitude.

  • With a fast birth, it took more time to bond with my daughter

    This is something that I was afraid to admit to anyone until I had discussed it with my doula and she assured me how normal it is.  While she was visiting us, we were discussing how when my daughter was born, she had a double, almost triple chin.  I sheepishly admitted to my doula that I didn't really like Ladybug when she was born and they handed her to me.  I thought she looked like Jabba the Hut and I was not impressed. (It scares me to know that someday my daughter WILL find this and read it and all I can say is keep reading, it gets better, keep reading.)  My doula explained to me that my feelings were completely normal especially considering how fast her birth was.  She said, when you have a chance to push your baby out, you bond with them over the course of pushing.  But since Ladybug just showed up in one fell swoop, I didn't have that opportunity to bond with her.

    This certainly meshes with my memory of Little G's birth.  I remember it being a beautiful, memorable moment - pushing him out into the world, feeling like we accomplished his birth together.  But with Ladybug, it was chaotic and anything but divinely beautiful.  Don't get me wrong, it was still an incredible experience...but I couldn't think of it as such DURING the experience because there wasn't time to think lovely thoughts!

    It was so helpful and empowering to have my doula validate how I had felt and I am really glad the subject came up as I would have internalized that for a long time had I not been able to process it with her.

The original birth story

Some thoughts on my birthing experince

Some final thoughts on my birthing experience  

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

STILL too sexy fo' my car

So... remember how I had been driving a muscle car in the weeks prior to giving birth?  And remember how I was joking about how H-A-W-T I must have looked trying to back my ass up to get into that car?

Ohhhhh yeahhhhhhh....

Well, when I had my maternity photos taken a mere 5 days before Ladybug showed up, I coerced the photographer into taking some pin-up shots with me and my sexy car.  

Behold the hotness!!!

I know you are mad jealous of my America's Next Top Model Skillzzzz!
Maternity photos by: Emily Wilson - she's amazing!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Room of Ladybug's Own

When we were getting ready for Little G to join our family, we turned our (then) guest room into his nursery.  I was very excited to have created a space for Little G that was whimsical and not too theme-y and not too gender specific.

Once we found out our second child was a girl, I started thinking of ways I could transition his nursery into a space all our daughter's own without breaking the bank.

I'm pleased as punch with how it turned out!

All of the details along with some fun comparison shots are over at the FLOR blog...go check it out!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Please don't hate...

I'm just going to go ahead and say it.  

As of 10 days post-partum, I weighed less than when I got pregnant and was able to legitimately put on my pre-pregnancy jeans.

Ok...go ahead and hate.  I mean, I totally would if it were someone else.

But let me just get through this because I don't normally brag about my body and for once, I'm totally excited about it.

Waaaaaay back before I was pregnant with Little G, I weighed 206lbs.  Here's a picture of me the month before I got pregnant:

While pregnant with Little G, I gained over 40 lbs.  He weighed 10 lbs, 5oz. Here's a picture of me the day before I gave birth:

I only ever lost around 30 lbs of my pregnancy weight with Little G...meaning that I started this pregnancy with Ladybug at 216lbs.  Here is a picture of me exactly one day before I found out I was pregnant with Ladybug.

With Ladybug, I only gained 13 lbs.  She weighed 10lbs, 4.8oz.   Here's a picture of me 5 days before I gave birth:

So here we are.  This is a picture of me taken last Sunday.  (Ignore the mahem in the background, I seriously grabbed the iPhone and asked hubs to take a picture just so I could post it).  I'm in my pre-pregnancy jeans that fit better than before I got pregnant, even though I still have a small bit of my pregnancy pooch left.  My weight on that day was 212.

I wish I could take credit for having done something right, but I didn't really make any major lifestyle changes this pregnancy.  The best I can attribute it to is that I was mostly pregnant over the summer which meant that

  1. I was eating better since most of what we eat during the summer comes from our CSA

  2. I was running around with Little G all summer, walking all over the place.  Everywhere from the Children's Museum to various parks to chasing him around the beach, etc.
Anyway, even though I know it is totally obnoxious to post this (especially so close to after Thanksgiving), I really just wanted to share this small triumph in my life.

So, yay.  Go me! back to our regularly scheduled snark and self-deprecation.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Maternity photos!!

A good friend of mine is friends with a fantastic photographer from Philadelphia, Emily B. Wilson.  Emily was planning on being up in the Boston area just before Ladybug's due date and offered to take maternity pictures for us.  If you'll recall, I went the DIY route for my maternity pictures with Little G, but that was before we had a toddler in the mix. 

I'm so pleased with these pictures and so glad we got to take them before it was too late!

Little G was acting his age through most of the photo shoot...which meant running around and not wanting to be held back by mommy and daddy.  But as you can see, he's a total camera ham!  He just didn't want to be tied down to us.  But she got some great shots of the three of us too, which is a total testament to how great she is to work with.

In these photos, I am 38 weeks, 5 days pregnant...but Ladybug decided to show up a mere 5 days after these were taken!

I have to mention, I was DREADING going to this photo shoot because I was uncomfortable and I no longer felt good about my body.  While I have always said I never feel more comfortable with my body than when I am very pregnant, there has always been a point in my pregnancies that I have passed that level of bliss and moved on to the oh-my-gosh-I'm-gigantic phase.  I was so close to cancelling this photo shoot on numerous occasions and I am so glad I didn't.  Not only did Emily do an amazing job capturing my family, but she made me feel so incredibly comfortable.  She truly is a professional and I can only hope that her business takes her far!

Go check her out!!

Emily B. Wilson Photography