So this is seven. . .
What once pooled around her little bitty legs, is now well past her knobby knees. We are certainly at the half way point for Miss V here.
Happiest of birthdays to this fearless, funny, feisty, phenomenal little lady!
So this is seven. . .
What once pooled around her little bitty legs, is now well past her knobby knees. We are certainly at the half way point for Miss V here.
Happiest of birthdays to this fearless, funny, feisty, phenomenal little lady!
7 lbs. 10 oz.
21 inches long
Last year, I said that we were another year closer to having that bathing suit fit you. Looks like I was right! It feels like you’ve gone from being the length of my forearm to just about looking me in my eyes in the snap of a finger
You are the best parts of your father and me.
We are so proud of the young lady you are becoming.
Happy, happy birthday, my sweet girl.
“I will not be participating in the Pinterest Olympics on February 14th this year.
Good luck to all the glue gun gladiators out there.”
–Sarah F., my friend and the real MVP.
Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and I have tried to sit this one out. I’m not a Valentine’s Day Hater, honestly. I’m barely recovered from Christmas and simply not ready for any holiday hoop-la.
The girls are foaming at the mouth in anticipation of stuffing their faces with conversation hearts, chocolate kisses, and all manner of Cupid themed sugar love snacks. The Valentine paraphernalia has been out in prominent display at most retailers since, December 27th (not joking), so my girls are pretty much at the frayed end of their ropes as they wait for another chance to get crafty and get candy.
In the past, I started making the girls Valentine goodies, with a little input and help from them of course, the girls and I figure out what kind of Valentine they’d like to hand out. Every year that they’ve handed out little homemade love notes, I’ve been compelled to make each subsequent year a little cuter, a little craftier.
I know, I’m an idiot.
Truly, Valentine’s Day has become the Craft Olympics, sponsored by Pinterest.
We did the photo with the lollipop one year.
We did a photo booth with Hershey kisses.
2014 saw us put together Swedish Fish with a request: “Will You ‘O-Fish-Ally’ Be My Valentine?”.
Two years ago, we did Kool Aid and Crazy Straws.
Last year two things changed: 1. M and C didn’t want to do the same thing. 2. V wanted in on the craft-tastic action. So, I took to Pinterest and came up with three separate Valentine cards (*facepalm*)
Smartie Pants Valentine’s for C.
You Blow Me Away Valentine’s for M.
You’re All Write Valetine’s for V.
I’m even more tired just looking at these.
Which brings me to this year — I’m to doing it. I’m not making Valentine’s day crafts for the girls or with the girls or having a hand in any form or fashion to spread love on the 14th. I’m out like Obama.
And why? Why am I being such a hard-hearted Hannah? That’s easy — a sista is tired. Yup, I said it. I AM TIRED.
For the past handful of years, I have done the most. While I do enjoy crafting and while I do enjoy the challenge, this year, I just don’t have the gas. There are no conversational candy hearts in my tank to power me through the cutting and pasting. Add to that all of my crafting stuff is in various totes and boxes scattered around the third floor because OFFICE NOT FINISHED (sorry for yelling). There is’ not place to spread it out. Shoot, I don’t know what I have. I don’t want to raid AC Moore only to find out now I have three glue guns, two FISKARs straight edge cutters, and enough glue dots to bring the total up to 105 Dalmatians.
What I decided to do instead was take the girls to Target and let them pick out whatever they liked to give to their friends. I tried to sway them into valentines that had stickers, tattoos, or scratch pads. In the end, because I don’t want to make everything a battle royal (but mainly because I’m tired), I let C get Airheads and V get lollipops.
M is middle school and evidently, exchanging valentine’s is passe. Instead, there’s middle school dance the Friday before the 14th. M was on the committee, and “Oh, by the way Mom, I have to bring refreshments, so can you make some cupcakes or brownies like on Pinterest?”
To which I replied, in my head, “Nah”. Out loud, it went more like, “What else can you bring? Chips? Done.” Comes the night of the dance, and off M goes, in head to toe pink carrying bags of Doritos for the masses.
But back to the Valentine’s for the younger ones. On one hand, I have mother’s guilt bubbling up for not doing the crafty card. I’m letting down the sweet-faced kiddos who like the punny, Valentine sentiment. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m feeling guilty for not doing it because I don’t want any Judgey McJudgerson (real or imagined, but mostly imagined) giving me side-eye. Yes, I care what other people think! I admit it! And yes, I know that I shouldn’t, but I can’t help it!
Why do I do this?
Oh wait. . .I’m Type A. I forgot.
And while I may have forgotten that, I have picked up a useful skill along the way. I’m learning to identify what my limitations are. Saying yes to Valentine’s crafts is a limit. A hard limit.
This is me going rogue, people! I’m stepping away from the glue gun! Store bought Valentine’s today, store bought Valentine’s tomorrow, store bought Valentine’s forever!!
I’ll admit it. I want a flat stomach.
I don’t need rippling ab muscles. I’m not trying to wash clothes on my stomach. I just want a smooth, flat space from under the girls to below the bellybutton. I want the “pooch” to disappear.
I know that a few months ago, my post 21 Day Fix photo popped up showing me with a more defined midsection. I worked hard for that definition. Really hard. Which is why I’m so frustrated with how things are going now. Two months of not working out at all and I’m back to my pre 21 Day Fix measurements. I’ve heard the adage that there’s someone out there who wishes your weakest/heaviest/worst was their fittest/thinnest/best. I get it. I totally get that, but. . .
I want a flat stomach.
Two years ago, I shared with you all my experience with diastasis recti, the separation of the abdominal muscles due to weakened core, pregnancy or hormonal changes. I had heard of this condition before; basically, the sheet of abdominal muscles separates. It’s not life threatening (at least, nothing I read said that it was), but you are supposed to use caution when doing crunches and sit-ups in the off chance that your cause further separatation of the mucles.
From what I remember from anatomy and phys., of the multiple sets of abdominal muscles you have, your rectus abdominis is the sheet of muscles that is where you get your six pack. The muscles are connected by a tendon that runs down the middle. The tendon has no elasticity in it, which means if you put on a lot of weight (as in the case with a pregnancy), the muscles separate, the tendon gets stretched. After you lose the weight, the muscles, which have elasticity, retract, but the tendon is still in the same stretched out shape it was in when you put the weight on, thereby causing the gap between the muscles.
“To check yourself for diastasis, lie on your back with your knees bent. With your fingers pointing down toward your feet, hold two fingers flat on your bellybutton. Press your fingers down as you slowly lift your head (keep your shoulders on the ground). Do you feel a gully between the two muscles? Measure how many fingers wide it is (mine is about 2.5 fingers wide). If you can fit two or more fingers inside, you should not do crunches or sit ups. If this is you, I would recommend halting all traditional abdominal exercises and doing the workout on this page until your separation heals.” — from Dear Diastasis Recti, I’m so over you by Inspired RD on June 19, 2012
The earliest chance I got, I’m on the floor with my knees bent, fingers in my belly button. I’m kind of thinking whatever’s about to happen is going to make me less than pleased, but I soldier on. I start to slowly lift my head and let me tell you, my abs parted like the Red Sea and my fingers were Noah. Sweet fancy Moses! I’m pretty sure I could have pulled Jimmy Hoffa, Ameila Earheart, and the Holy Grail out of the gap between the muscles.
*le sigh* Ultimately, the gap is what contributes to the nefarious “mommy pooch”, and apparently it can be overcome by strengthening the core. So, what’s a girl to do? No crunches, apparently. The website provided a list of alternative exercises to do to strengthen the muscles, but I honestly don’t believe a gap like mine or the ones described can just be “healed” (their word, not mine).
In 2013, I visited a plastic surgeon as part of my second ankle repair surgery. After we discussed how he would work in conjunction with my orthopedist to revise the scar on my leg (so much for that), I asked him about my C-Section scar. That in turn lead to a convo about abdomnioplasty and diastasis recti. The doctor had me lie back with my knees drawn up and my feet flat on the table, just like the Inspired RD describes. He then measured the separation, again, just like described above. Diagnosis? I’ve got it. And he assured me he could fix it. I think his exact words were, “Oh, I can totally take care of that!”
Part of me was hoping he was going to say that my situation was all in my head, just me being vain and it wasn’t anything a few thousand crunches couldn’t fix. Part of me was validated though, and I totally want everyone to stick their fingers in my gut so I can sit up and be like, “See, what I’m talking about?!”
But, surgery isn’t going to happen for a variety of reasons, tops on the list being, I need to get over myself. Close second is I’m in no rush for more surgery, followed by I really need to get over myself.
So, in the interim, I try to eat right and am counting down the days until I can exercise again. The healthy eating is coming along pretty nicely. Pinterest — of course — has tons of useful recipes and suggestions, which brings me to today’s recipe. Detox Water to Shrink Your Belly.
The pin bragged a slimmer stomach in 10 days. I thought, “I’ve got 10 Days. What’s the worst that can happen? I drink more water?” So, I tried it out. Honestly, though, I don’t know if it is working. I’m going to say not working, but only because I have a habit of cozying up with a spoon and some almond butter every evening. Oh have the mighty have fallen. Still, I’ve increased my water intake significantly, so, you know, there’s that.
Happy Friday, y’all!
from DIY Beauty Tutorials
While the original post included step by step instructions, I’ve made a few modifications to make this recipe more my own.
Every evening before bed, I grab a Tervis tumbler and my supplies. I usually have snapped a few sprigs of mint from my herb garden earlier in the day, so I drop those into the bottom of the cup. I use a mandoline and pass a cucumber over the blades’ thinnest setting about four times. Drop those into the cup. Next, I take out my microplaner and get busy with the ginger. Ginger is the key ingredient for boosting your metabolism, so I’m pretty heavy handed with it. I half a lemon and squeeze the juice on in. Then I top it off with blorp of honey from the honey bear and fill the cup with water. Into the fridge it goes until the morning.
When I get up at 5:30, I clip clop downstairs, grab the water and straw. I also grab a 900ml cup and fill that with water. Then, back up the stairs to set up a mini hydration station on my nightstand. While I do my first set of 20 minute squats for the day, I drink water. While I watch the news, I drink water. While I do my second set of 20 minute squats for the day, I drink water. The 900ml cup provides refills, though the flavor gets more and more diluted with each pour. By 7am, I’ve had about 46 oz of water, which is close to 6 cups. I’ve also been to the bathroom about as many times.
Memorial Day has come and gone, which means we are officially into summer. I can hardly believe it! I distinctly remember slogging through January, dreaming of sweaty glasses of lemonade and prime real estate at the pool, while I was shoveling mounds and mounds of snow. June is all but here, peeking it’s head around the last vestiges of May. Here we are — summer, summer, summertime.
The beginning of summer means the end of school. This year was V’s first year of preschool and it was stellar year for her. She thoroughly enjoyed her two-day-two program. In addition to making friends, learning her numbers and color, and just being an all around superstar on the playground, V was a stand-out student with her teachers. I wanted to thank them for making V’s year such a success. I dug through my craft board on Pinterest and found this super cute and super easy teacher appreciation gift.
You’ll need a cute oven mitt, a spatula, and a bag of cookie mix for each of the intended recipients.
Tuck the cookie mix and the spatula into the oven mitt and set aside.
Print out the template found on eighteen25.com, attach it to some cardstock and punch a hole in the top. Wrap some nice grosgrain ribbon around the mitt and through the hole of the cardstock.
Tie it with a bow and you’re all done!
The original set of mitts I made were blue and red gingham mitts with black spatulas and chocolate chip cookie mix. I like affixing the note to some cardstock for a little extra punch, but it’s not required. Also, if cookies aren’t your jam, you could substitute it for any other type of packaged baked good. You can make this jazzy or as simple. Put your own signature on it and make it was awesome as you like. Whatever you choose to do, no doubt, it’ll be pretty sweet!
A few days ago, I posted a triptych photo of V chronicling how much she’s grown from year to year. In each photo, she wears an old J.Crew shirt of mine. In each photo, the shirt gets a little shorter on her legs and on her arms. V is my third and last little biscuit, but she is not the first to participate in this photo study of growth and development. Each of my girls has their own unique outfit in which to dress up every year on their respective birthdays. For C, it’s a Grecian dress I bought on a whim while traveling abroad. For M, it’s a Lands End bathing suit that I had in my closet when I first came across this project.
In August of 2006, M was turning a year old. During her first year, I turned to a number of resources to help me navigate the first year of parenthood: family, friends, books, magazines — I was all over it, making sure that she was hitting her milestones, that she was eating from all of the food groups, and that she was engaged in activities to stimulate growth and development — Gymboree Play and Music! Kindermusik! Stroller Strides! My mother gifted me with a subscription to Parents Magazine as part of my “Welcome to Motherhood” starter pack. In the last issue before my subscription ran out, I came across an article entitled “The Swimsuit Project”. In it, author Maria Heck describes how prior to her becoming a mother, she came across a photo essay in Life Magazine. The photo essay depicted a young woman whose mother had posed her in the same bathing suit each year on her birthday. Heck was duly impressed and promised herself that whenever she had a daughter, she would duplicate the project. When her daughter was 4 months old, Heck slipped Madeline into a floral bathing suit, complete with bra cups, that had belonged to Heck’s mother. Every year on Madeline’s birthday, Heck snapped a picture. She did this for 15 years, stopping when the suit fit her daughter better than it had ever fit her own mother.
At that point in time, Heck decided that, “the chronicle is complete. She has gone from baby to young woman. If anything proves that your child grows up in the blink of an eye, it’s seeing these pictures all together and realizing that the first one was only a heartbeat away from the last.”
The article in Parents was Heck’s photo essay of the very project that caught her eye. Like Heck, I was struck by the simplicity of the project, the patience required, and the unique approach in cataloging a child’s growth and development. I decided that I was going to do this project with, and for, M. We started that night, with my Lands End Tunic Bathing Suit. When C was born, we had hung up the bathing suit from M’s two year photo shoot and I began thinking about what C could wear when it was her turn. A dress that I knew I would never again wear, but was loathe to part with became her outfit. For V, a Peter Pan Collared shirt from J.Crew that I could not make work, despite my best efforts.
I happily relinquish those items to my girls, though, because as time goes by and the photos begin to grow in number, I am overwhelmed at how much my little ladybugs have grown and changed. Certainly, I had the fortune of seeing this project while my first born child was still young, but I think it’s one that is never too late to start. A similar take on this project is snapping a pic of your little person in your wedding gown (or menswear equivalent) and then (if you can manage it) bringing that photo out when they get engaged or married. Use it for the save the date or something.
My advice? Don’t overthink it. Choose something meaningful to you and snap a photo of it. Remember to do it around the same time every year. Be patient. Before you know it, you’ll have captured something so mind-blowing and precious, you’ll be patting yourself on the back for reading this post!
Stop listening to a 9 year old and 7 year old and listen to her gut.
They dolls aren’t played with. Not really. M and C make them dance around a bit now and then, but for the most part, Cecile and Addy are posted up on M’s nightstand and C’s bed, respectively. Sometimes, Hurricane V will come through the room and undress Cecile and Addy, unbraid their hair, and scatter their accessories around before tiring of this destruction and turning her attention to something else.
Cecile and Addy are left looking like the opening scene of Law and Order: SVU. M and C get bent out of shape with V, but just end up just leaving the dolls naked and in disarray. These very expensive dolls that they begged, cajoled, wheeled and promised me anything, anything for if I would buy them, are left naked and splayed out. Even the Velveteen Rabbit got more love that these two.
When I’m straightening up the girls’ rooms, and I see the dolls cast away like so many other Happy Meal inserts, pantless Barbies and broken crayons, I just shake my head. I hear my own mother’s voice in my head, “I’m not buying you another single doll until these dolls have some clothes on!”. I’ve used that line with very little impact; naked Barbies abound in the playroom. When it comes to the American Girl Dolls, though, I’m going to have to stick to my guns. I find myself dressing Cecile and Addy, sitting quietly on the bed, pulling on socks, lacing up shoes, finding the little gloves and matching hats. I take the hair ties from around my own wrist and use it to secure a very neat French braid or Dutch braid that I’ve given the doll. Yes, I’m spending my own time,
playing caring returning these playthings back to some sort of recognizable state.
When M and C discover what I’ve done, it’s never met with any kind of thanks. I think they assume the doll fairy, cousin of the Tooth Fairy or something, flies in and takes care of business. Things continue along as usual, with the dolls standing around until Hurricane V rolls through again. M has said that if they had more accessories for the dolls, like Addy’s ice cream set or Cecile’s canopy bed, as well as more outfits and so forth, they’d play with the dolls all.the.time. Right, let me run on out and get that for you.
The last time V disrobed the dolls, leaving pantaloons and socks in her wake, M and C were more upset than usual. Evidently, the hair on both Addy and Cecile has been literally, bent out of shape. No amount of palm smoothing, brushing with the accessory brush or finger de-tangling was going to get the knots, frizz and general rattiness under control. M implored me to fix Cecile’s hair. In her way of thinking, if I can do her hair, if I can do her sisters’ hair, well, then I can do the doll’s hair, too. “Mom,” she said earnestly, “you’re like a hair wizard”. That’s some high praise right there. But, flattery will only get you so far. Gently, I explained to her that the kind of hair sprouting out from Cecile and Addy’s heads wasn’t going to respond the way her hair did. Not one to be defeated, M suggested I “go on the interwebs and You Tube it!”, it being ways and means on how to restore the hair of their respective dolls to their former glory.
This is where we are in this life. I didn’t have an American Girl Doll growing up, but if I did and her hair got all kinds of kinked out, my mother would have shrugged her shoulders and said something like, “I told you to take care of it,” walking off with an air of “too bad, so sad,” trailing behind her. Fast forward 25 years and my daughters are giving me tips on what to do to solve this problem. And the thing is, they aren’t wrong in their suggestions. A quick visit to Google turned up pages of American Girl Doll fan sites and
It’s not like we haven’t been done this road before. Last year, during spring break, I tried to to get the girls playing with some toys that hadn’t been loved on in a while. I broke out M’s Bitty Baby, an another American Girl family member, but M was decidedly against playing with her since her hair looked like this:
You don’t use doll hair de-tangler on American Girl Dolls. Like ever. If you have a curly hair American Girl Doll, such as the one we have, you should only use water and your fingers to de-tangle and style the hair. Here was my face when I read that last part:
Of course you do.
So, I gave the doll’s hair an epic rinse before breaking out all of my hair implements in order to wrangle it back into some semblance of a style. And of course, I was trying to do this as covertly as possible lest M wander through the kitchen and spy what I’ve done to her doll, thereby rendering it persona non grata in her purview. About half a dozen hair balls later, I ended up with this:
Not great, but not bad. And here we are about a year later with more dolls in need of hair care. So knowing what not to do, I am going to jump in to figure out what I should do for this particular type of hair. More googling confirms that finger detangling is the way to go to restore hair like Cecile’s. As for Addy’s, the recommendations include Downy Dunk, finger detangling combined with toothbrush styling, or just straight-up washing with baby shampoo. The more links I clicked, the more information spooled out. The more information that spooled out, the more it was beginning to look like Addy and Cecile were going to be added to the wash day line-up, right beside M, C, and V. “Washing and styling” two more heads? To you sir, I say no, no, and again no.
The biggest take away in this entire exercise has been that I would rather fill out paperwork and send them both to the American Girl Doll hospital for a “wellness check” and “hair styling” (i.e. swap out the old head for a new one), rather than spend a Sunday afternoon finger styling synthetic hair on a doll that I spend more time interacting with than it’s nominal owners.
Yes, there is a teachable moment here. Yes, I will more than likely set up both M and C with the various tools needed to transform our kitchen into a doll sized hair salon. And once we have successfully coiffed Cecile and Addy, they’ll be returned to their respective perches for V to have at when none of us expect it. And I will continue to dress them, match their socks and shoes, and keep them as close to pristine as possible. It would seem I’ve gotten my very own — well, two — American Girl Doll, afterall. Better late than never, I suppose.