Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Will You Marry Me? The Proposal

Spoiler Alert:  It took 5 years, but he finally put a ring on it, guys.

The proposal was everything I could have hoped for, and I can't wait for the day when Bailey or Gerry ask me about it.  Scott had surprised me with tickets to see a show and stay the night in a hotel in New York for Christmas that year {2007}.  I was thrilled...thrilled!  The date was December 22nd and we met up that morning with my sister and brother-in-law who were also going.  The plan was to take the bus to NYC so that we wouldn't have to worry about leaving our car anywhere...but, after spending a solid hour at the bus station and then being told that even though we had reservations we weren't guaranteed an actual seat on a bus and thus may never actually make it to the city, we ended up piling in the car and driving.  We made it there with just enough time to grab some dinner in the hotel restaurant before heading off to see Hairspray.

 We headed a few blocks away to get in {a ridiculously long} line to see the show, and I remember being so cold.  December in New York is absolutely beautiful...but freezing.  We enjoyed the show and got the obligatory {and over-priced} Hairspray souvenir cup, and then headed off to check out Rockefeller Center.  I'll admit this was my sole reason for wanting to come to New York in the winter.  The tree all lit up, the crazy crowds, the ice skaters...I love it all.  I mean, look how beautiful!

 So we head down to Radio City Music Hall and it was just breathtaking...and there were so many people.  My brother-in-law suggested we take a picture in front of the tree -- as close as we could get to it, anyway.  So we snapped a few pictures of him and my sister and then my sister tells us to stand there for our photo.  "Jess, stand in front of Scott.  Now, Scott,  put your arms around her...act like you like her!"   And I remember thinking, for God's sake, just take the damn picture....and then I felt Scott's arms around my waist and heard him say, "Look down".  And, because I hate having my picture taken and just wanted to be done, I plastered a smile on my face and told him "Shut up and smile."  Because I'm classy like that, and it's how I'd always pictured my proposal going...

Eventually, I got a clue looked down and saw the ring box in Scott's hands, and time froze.  For me, anyway.  There were a million and one thoughts running through my head, spanning the gamut from WTF is this? to No way! to This is really happening...

 I'm pretty sure I didn't even give him a chance to actually ask, Will you marry me?  I just dove right in with, "Is this for real?!"  We'd been dating for five years by this point and I'd thought he was going to propose when we'd gone to Aruba back in August.  He didn't, though he had the ring then, because he knew how much I loved New York at Christmastime and he wanted my proposal to be special.  And special it was.  But completely unexpected after Aruba.  I remember him taking my glove off and putting the ring on my finger and finally asking me to marry him.  I remember the huge crowd that was surrounding us at the time.  I remember gazing at that ring and being absolutely shocked that he had chosen a ring that was so perfect for me, and one that I would have chosen for myself had I been the one to pick it out.  It was beautiful and shiny and the diamond...oh, I loved it.

After calling my parents and my grandparents and, I think, Scott's parents, we finally walked back to our hotel, where there was a bottle of champagne waiting for us, compliments of my sister and brother-in-law.  We toasted and I stared at my ring some more and then we went to the bar down the street for more celebratory drinks.

I can neither confirm nor deny this, but I may have made it a point to get regular manicures for, like, a year leading up to the proposal.  Just in case. 

The next day was Sunday {family dinner day}, and my family and Scott's were all at my parents' house when we got home.  There were congratulations all around, and my mom gave me a gift bag full of bridal magazines, and I think I came back to Earth sometime that night.  Over the next few days, we picked a date and told all of our friends, and I just remember being so happy.  I wish I could better put into words exactly how I was feeling at the time, but I can't.  But you better believe it's a day I'll never forget.  The drive, the show, the actual proposal...I couldn't have picture it any more perfectly. 

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Moment I Knew He Was "The One"

Ready for more mushy love stuff?  Drink it in now, you guys, because it'll probably be another year before I give you this much mush!

I read this article a few weeks ago and actually saved it to my computer to read again later because it was that good and I loved it that much.  The article is titled "10 Husbands Share The Moment They Knew They Wanted To Marry Her" and I loved every word of it.  It's not often you hear lovely anecdotes like these from the man's perspective, and most of them were incredibly sweet.  So, of course, it got me thinking about Scott and me and "the moment" I knew he was the one.  And, honestly?  There wasn't one.

Because there were so many little moments where I just knew that he was it.   

  • Like after our first date.  We doubled with my sister and {now} brother-in-law, and went to a pizza place {Vito's} and then a movie {The Ring}.  During dinner, he made a teeny dig at me about my height and, at first, I didn't know whether to laugh or to run in the opposite direction and call it a night.  I chose to laugh and ended up being grateful to him for "breaking the ice".  In the end, I was way more comfortable after that than I would have been had our date been more formal and overly-pleasant.
  • When he told me he fell for me the day we met.   If you read my last post, you know that I most definitely did not look my best on that day.  I woke up late for class and ran out of my room with no makeup on, hair in a messy ponytail, dressed in sweatpants and a hoodie, with a handful of tic tacs shoved down my throat in lieu of brushing my teeth that morning.  To this day, Scott tells me that was the day he fell for me and that I looked beautiful to him, messy hair, sweats, and all.  Any man who spends your entire relationship telling you that you're gorgeous without makeup and looking, quite possibly, your worst is nothing short of a keeper. 
  • All the times he brought me coffee.  Back when we were in college, he used to wake up at what {to me} felt like the crack of dawn to go workout with his friend and roommate.  They'd leave and I would go back to sleep and wake up a couple hours later to the sweet smells of coffee and oatmeal.  Every time.  It was so wonderful to know that he was thinking about me...and, I'm not gonna lie, the coffee was a damn good bonus.
  • When he met my parents for the first time.   I'd only had one serious boyfriend before Scott and, needless to say, that boyfriend had not won my family's hearts {I can't be certain, but I think it's a safe bet that at least one of my parents did a happy dance the day we broke up}.  So I was ridiculously nervous for Scott to meet them.  I tried to prep him beforehand:   "My dad isn't much of a talker, so don't be bummed if he doesn't speak to you much.  Or, like, at all." and  "My mom can be kind of overbearing.  She's got good intentions, but she's going to be hard on you.  And she's a little bit scary."  I was entirely convinced that they were going to offend him in some way and he was going to realize that I was really not worth all the trouble, and run for the hills.  So, the day he met my parents, when he called my mom "Mom" immediately and engaged my dad in conversation about God-knows-what-because-Scott-is-happy-talk-about-anything-with-anyone, I was shocked/thrilled/convinced it was a fluke.  And then when he kept coming back and actually spending time with my family rather than running to the basement to avoid them like some other boy had always done, I knew he was it.
  • After our first "real" kiss.  Not the quick "I'm on my way out the door" little pecks, but our first honest-to-God kiss.  Oh, that kiss was magic.  Romance and fireworks and everything you could want in a first kiss.  He had me right then and there.
  • When I met his parents for the first time.  I was so incredibly nervous.  Will they like me?  Will they hate me?  Will they pull him aside later and tell him to do better?  The minute I walked through their front door, though, I was hooked.  They were sweet and funny and you could just tell by looking at them how much they loved each other and enjoyed each other's company.  From that very first day, they invited me into their family and have been nothing but wonderful to me, and I'm so blessed to have them in my life.
  • When his best friend told him I wasn't good enough.  Scott made a big deal out of me meeting his best friend, and had planned a nice double date with his friend and his friend's girlfriend.  They'd grown up together and Scott was so excited for me to meet him and I wanted so badly to make a good impression.  We met up and, social awkwardness aside, I thought it went pretty well.  I'm quiet by nature, but I took part in conversation and was polite, and I felt pretty good about everything by the time we left the restaurant that evening.  But the next day, Scott's friend told him that he didn't think I was good enough for him...that Scott had loved his last girlfriend more than he did me, that she {the last girlfriend} was a better match for him, and that he didn't think we would last.  Most people would have listened to their friend and dropped me like a bad habit.  Hell, I'd have dropped a significant other like a bad habit if my best friend didn't like them.  But Scott didn't.  He told his friend that he was wrong, that I was a great girl and that he loved me.  Twelve years later, we're coming up on our 5th wedding anniversary and have two beautiful kids.  Scott has lost touch with this particular "friend" {not because of me...I feel like it's important to note this} and they haven't seen each other in years.  From that very first day, he knew he wanted me and that we had something, and he didn't just let it all go because of his friend's opinion.  I didn't find out that any of this had happened until a few months down the road.  But when I did, when I realized that he was, in essence, sacrificing a friendship for our relationship?  I knew he was it
  •  Those first few nights we fell asleep together.  I'm talking way back at the beginning of our relationship.  I spent most nights in Scott's room {because college}and those teeny little dorm beds didn't leave much room for stretching out.  So we snuggled up nice and close, and I will never forget that first night.   I remember being wrapped up in his arms, all cozy and comfortable, and just as I closed my eyes he whispered in my ear that I was beautiful and that he loved me...I fell asleep listening to those words and I don't think I've ever had such a good night's rest.  The next night he sang a song {ridiculously off-key, but it's the thought that counts and no song has ever sounded sweeter}.  The night after that it was more talking.  Being with someone who was so comfortable talking and sharing his feelings and singing softly to me was brand new and surprising to me.  That first night I was pleasantly surprised.  By night two, I was downright giddy with happiness.  By night three, I was a goner. 
  • After our first fight.  This was our stupidest fight to date--we'd been dating for just a few weeks when I went on a trip with a few friends to visit some of our other friends from high school at Penn State.  The trip had been planned before I'd even met Scott and I was really looking forward to it.  Scott didn't want me to go because I'd be traveling with two friends of mine who were...{gasp!}...guys, and we'd be gone the entire day.  I didn't care that he didn't want me to go because I'd already had the trip planned, I was excited about it, and who the hell was he to tell me I couldn't go, right?  So I went, and I had a blast, and I didn't get back to our dorm until very, very late that night.  Scott had had the whole day to stew in his annoyance, which had turned into anger, and he was good and worked up by the time I got back.  And so we fought.  And it was dumb, and we both ended up angry, and I stormed off to my own dorm room to think angry thoughts about him.  And then a little while later there was a knock on my door and there he was.  And the first words out of his mouth were "I'm sorry".  Honest.  Sincere.  And I melted.  No one had ever apologized to me before.  Ever.  I wasn't expecting it.  Truthfully, I'd expected never to see him again because I'm dramatic and self-destructive like that.  But there he was, apologizing, and looking all handsome and sexy without meaning to.  And that quiet and genuine apology just did me in.  It was our first fight, but not our last and, to his credit, Scott is incredibly good at apologizing when he's wrong.  And sometimes even when he's not wrong.  He's better at apologies than I am.  Much better.  And after that very first apology, I knew that just about any other fight we had {and I knew there'd be others} would end okay.  And I knew that there wasn't anyone else I'd rather argue with.  He was it
  • The year he brought New York to me.  I've always loved New York and had told him him how much I loved it at Christmas time.  One of our first few years together, he built me New York for Christmas.  Yes, built it.  For me.  He came over to exchange Christmas presents, and he walked in the front door lugging this giant box covered with a blanket and I thought, Oh God...what is that?!  And then he took that blanket off and there was a miniature New York, complete with snow and a Christmas tree and little shops all lit up and people walking around and ice skating, and a promise ring in a small box nestled in the snow.  He'd spent I-don't-know-how-long building it for me and he was so proud of himself {"I used a saw!"}, and it was absolutely perfect.  And I knew, yet again, after putting so much work and effort into something for me, that he was the one.  I kept that New York scene for years, right up until we moved out of our parents' houses and into a home of our own and Scott told me that it was time to let it go.  
  • That time I got stupid drunk and accidentally blew him off.  We'd had plans one night to grab a pizza and hang out in Scott's dorm room with a friend who was visiting.  Before our friend got there, Scott and I were hanging out in my room {something that didn't happen often} and drinking Mike's Hard Lemonade with my roommate and her boyfriend.  At one point, Scott looked at his watch and said that it was almost time for our friend to arrive, so I told him to head over to his room and come back and get me when our friend got there.  And then I proceeded to {accidentally} get ludicrously drunk.  On Mike's Hard Lemonade...because, again, college.  I don't remember the rest of that night, other than a few little snippets here and there.  I remember Scott coming back to get me and me telling him I wanted to finish my drink and that I'd be down in a little while.  I don't remember finishing my drink and I don't remember how I got there, but I do remember making it to Scott's room, where I spent the rest of the night alternating between throwing up in a trash can while he held my hair back and passing out.  The next morning I woke up to a horrible hangover and an understandably pissed off boyfriend.  And he had every right to be pissed off.  Regardless of the fact that I didn't mean to, I'd blown him off the night before and ruined our plans.  I was an asshole.  But, still, he took care of me that day.  I spent the entire morning recovering in bed, and he popped in and out to check on me between his classes.  He brought me soup and coffee when my stomach could handle it and joked about the fact that I literally could not remember getting to his room or keeping him up the entire night while I vomited every few minutes. I didn't even remember seeing our friend.  Had the situation been reversed, there's no doubt in my mind that I'd have stayed angry for days and just let him wallow in his hungover misery.  But Scott is a better person than I am.  Once the overwhelming feeling of nausea and wishes for a swift death had subsided, it hit me good and hard.  I had a good guy.  A great guy.  And I'd be an idiot to let him go.  He was it.  
  • When he planned an amazing birthday for me.  Most of my birthdays have been wonderful, but my 22nd will always stand out.  We'd been dating for almost 4 years by that point and, if I remember correctly, I'd had these grand ideas that turning 21 the year before would magically turn me into some cool and sophisticated chick and, when that obviously didn't happen, I was crushed.  So, when my 22nd birthday rolled around, I wasn't expecting much.  I'm a summer birthday, and it usually falls right around the time that my family goes to the beach for vacation, something I look forward to all year long.  That year, Scott kept bugging me to stay home the Saturday that everyone else left and I remember being so annoyed about it, but I stayed back.  And was so, so glad that I did.  Early that afternoon, he told me to hop in the car for the first part of my birthday present, and wouldn't tell me where we were going until we pulled up in front of a spa.  He'd set everything up for me to get a massage and a manicure and pedicure, and told me to relax and enjoy myself while he went home to cook me a birthday dinner, and that he'd be back in a few hours to pick me up.  He'd set everything up ahead of time so that everyone working there knew it was my birthday and that this had been a surprise, so everyone kept wishing me happy birthday and offering me coffee and champagne, and I had a truly relaxing and fabulous time.  He was waiting for me when I was all finished and when we walked in my parents' front door, the house smelled amazing.  He'd baked a cake and cooked my favorite dinner and had everything set up on the back porch so that we could have dinner outside by  candlelight.  It was the most perfect meal I've ever had and I couldn't believe how much effort he'd put into making the day special for me.  It was truly incredible.
  • Every single day of every single year since I met him

I don't say it enough, but I married an incredible man.  To this day, I don't know how I got so lucky but I'm so thankful that I did.  He's good to me and he loves me and there has never been a day where I doubted that he was the one for me.  At the beginning of our relationship, I held back.  A lot.  I'd been recently dumped and, in the way that only an overly dramatic and angsty teenager could, I felt like I wasn't good enough and that no one else would ever love me again.  And then Scott came along, and he was all lovey dovey and sweet from the get-go, and for the longest time I refused to give in to it or to him.  But when I fell?  Oh man, I fell so hard.  And I've never looked back.  I love him more every day and there is no one --no one-- that I would rather stumble, walk, and find my way through this life with.  I don't tell him enough, but I'm so happy and grateful for him.  He's The One.

And always has been. 

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Monday, October 20, 2014

How We Met

Scott's and my anniversary is this week, sooooo in honor of this momentous occasion, I'm writing a few posts about how we met, how he proposed, our wedding...all love, all the time!  {Blech...I'm so not a sappy person}.  Moving on.  Friday marks our 5th wedding anniversary and our 12th year together and, oh, how time flies.  It doesn't feel like it's been that long at all.  And I guess, in the grand scheme of things, 12 years really isn't that long.

We met on a cool fall day in 2002, when I was a college freshman and he was a sophomore.  I'd woken up late for my 8am class and had no time to get myself ready before having to run across campus to make it to class on time.  So I jumped out of bed, threw my hair in a ponytail, skipped any makeup at all, and hopped into the first set of clothes I could find -- black sweats and a hoodie.  I made it to class on time, but was a shaky wreck by the time I got there.  It was, literally, the third week of classes and I hadn't yet mastered the art of being cool, calm, and collected while on campus.  {Side note:  I'm 30 years old now and I still haven't mastered being cool, calm, and collected anywhere}.  I took my seat in the back corner of the classroom and avoided eye contact with anybody.  We took a quiz that day, and I remember just trying to focus and breeze through it while visions of coffee mugs {which I'd had to forgo that morning, thanks to my lateness} danced in my head. 

Walking out of class that morning, I kept my head down {are you guys getting a picture now of how socially awkward I am?} but lifted it up just in time to see this guy standing in front of me and holding the door open.  I jogged a bit to catch up {because nothing is as awkward as someone holding a door open for you when you're about a hundred feet away}, smiled and thanked him for holding it.  I walked through the door and then returned the favor by holding it open on the other side, expecting that to be it.  So I was surprised when I heard that same guy ask, "How do you think you did on the quiz?"

I don't remember the answer I gave, but I'm sure it was stupid and awkward and there's a very good chance that it had nothing to do with the quiz or his question.  From there, we started walking toward the dorms and talking, and I distinctly remember how easy it was to talk to him.  Normally, I was a ball of nerves when it came to talking people, boys especially, and I was shocked at how easily I was able to have a conversation with this one.  I learned that his name was Scott and he was a sophomore, that he'd almost gone to Widener University, and that he lived in the same dorm I did, one floor above me.  Couple that with the fact that we had the same class together 3 days a week and it was a wonder we'd never bumped into each other before.

We parted at the front door of our dorm that day when a group of his friends bombarded him with a football and I didn't talk to him again for a week.  I'd convinced myself that our walk and talk together the week before had been nothing more than him killing time and being forced to be polite to me since we were both headed to the same place.  I wouldn't sit next to him in class, refusing to be the weird girl who gets all creepy after one innocent conversation, and I really and truly thought that he was "out of my league".  He talked to everyone around him in class and seemed to have a ton of friends and, after that day that we took the quiz, we didn't have another opportunity to walk together again.  So, in the corner I stayed.

Fast forward another few days.  I'm sitting at the desk in my room, trying to get some work done while simultaneously being polite to and ignoring my less-than-hygienic roommate at the time.  {Another side note:  It took me 3 years and 3 different roommates before I found one that I REALLY liked and got along with...and we're still friends today.  :-) }  There was a knock at our door and my roommate hopped off her bed to answer it, both of us thinking it was her boyfriend.  Imagine my shock when in walked Scott with a polite hello to my roommate and a smile for me.  He asked me if I'd finished the homework for our class and if I could give him a hand with a few of the questions he was having trouble with, and I told him I was just finishing up the last couple of questions and offered to stop by his room in a few minutes with it.

I didn't have a single question of that homework answered.  Hadn't even started it.

Fifteen minutes later, I'd charged through the homework packet and found myself knocking at the door to Scott's room.  Turns out, he didn't need any help, just wanted an excuse to see me outside of class.  So we got to talking about football after I noticed a Redskins helmet on his dresser {I know less than nothing about football} which turned into us talking more over lunch.  Over the next few weeks, we had lunch and dinner together most days, he invited me to come watch his hockey games, I spent pretty much every waking moment hanging out in his dorm room, and we met each other's parents.  Meeting him made my first year at college {and all the ones after} so much more wonderful than I'd expected it to be, and I'm thankful every day that he "needed help" with his homework.

 The story of how we met isn't a fairy tale, but it is to me.  Scott came along at a time in my life when I needed him and didn't even know it.  He makes me a better person, he makes me feel loved, and there's no one else I'd rather stumble and plow through life with.  During our walk back to the dorms that first day, I had no idea that I was talking to my future husband, but I had a very strong suspicion that he was going to be playing a very important role in my life.  The day that we met was an ordinary one for everyone else but, for me, it was downright extraordinary in the way that everything aligned so that he and I bumped into each other.  From waking up late, to leaving class at just the right moment, to miraculously overcoming my complete inability to have a normal conversation with a member of the opposite sex, to living just one floor apart in the same was like everything just fell into place beautifully on that day.

And the rest is history.

Friday, September 12, 2014

#BraunTherms VoxBox Review

Things have been so busy over here that I haven't gotten a moment to think let alone blog.  But then I remembered this afternoon that I totally forgot to blog my review of the Braun ThermoScanThermometer* that I received from Influenster {tsk tsk!}. 

Let me start by saying that this thermometer is AWESOME, and I'm not just saying that because they gave it to me.  It really is that good.  It takes an accurate temperature in 2 seconds {for real...2 seconds}, and it's ridiculously easy and simple to use.  With the push of a button, you can get an accurate temperature read-out in less time than it takes to turn on a thermometer that you'd put under your arm.  I also received a pack of 20 lens covers for the thermometer.  They're super easy to put on and taking them off is as simple as pushing an eject button.  {A word to the wise: make sure when you're pushing the button to remove the lens cover that you're NOT pointing the thermometer near anyone's face.  That lens cover goes flying off, and you don't want anyone getting poked in the eye!}

All in all, I give the Braun ThermoScan Thermometer an A+.  Because it's awesome.  Simple, easy, compact...what more could you want?  With 2 kids and a husband who tends to suffer from "man cold", this thermometer is invaluable.  If you don't already have one, run to the store and pick one up for your family!

*I received this product free from Influenster for testing purposes. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

B & G Update

I just realized that it's been so long since I posted an actual update on my kids {and isn't that kinda what the point of this blog is about?} instead of a quick little blurb.  So, here goes...


 There aren't enough words in the English language to describe Bailey right now.  She's four years old and she's the coolest, sassiest, most amazing kid ever.  Her favorite color is pink and she won't let us cut her hair because she says princesses have long hair.  Never mind the fact that half the time it's a nest-y mess.  In the last few months, she's decided to be a part-time vegetarian and will only eat chicken nuggets from Chick-fil-A.  She'll eat pretty much any fruit or vegetable under the sun, but she's got a thing against almost all meats.  She poses for pretty much every picture I take of her like this:

And like this:

Some days she's totally cool with throwing on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, but then there are days where she insists on wearing a fancy dress and high heels.  Even if we're just hanging around the house or running to the mall.

She'd eat ice cream every day if we let her {and most days we do}.  She's starting preschool {at home} this year and she picked out a new school with princesses all over it.  I don't know how I ended up with such a girly girl. She loves to swim, but she won't go in the deep end and prefers to stay in the kiddie/shallow end.  She got brave in the beginning of the summer and ended up a little too far in the deep end of the pool, clinging to the wall and screaming like she was about to drown.  Since then, she refuses to go much further than the stairs of any pool.

She likes to sneak into my makeup and put on lipstick and blush.  She's getting better at it, but still looks like a clown a lot of the time.  Most of the time.  Okay, every time.  She'll figure it out.

Sometimes she says things that just make me stop and laugh.  She's a fan of the show Big Brother, and watches it with Scott and me.  She sits there and chats about all the houseguests while we're watching:

"I love Frankie.  He has pink hair and glitter polish on his nails."  

"I miss Amber.  She got 'victed and had to go sit with Julie."

"My favorite character is Nicole.  She got 'victed, but then she came back."

 She's probably the best big sister a kid could ever ask for.  She's patient and loving and she truly enjoys spending time with her little brother.  And, good Lord, does he adore her.  Watching them together is so awesome.

Every once in awhile she busts out with "You're the greatest mommy I ever saw-ed" and it makes my day.  When she sleeps, which isn't often, she looks like a tiny little angel and I completely forget about all the craziness of the day.  She's been sleeping in a toddler cot in our bedroom lately.  She's got this thing against her own bedroom these days and, honestly, setting her up on a cot is easier for us at the moment than spending hours every night trying to convince, cajole, and threaten her to stay in her own bed.  Plus, she's been waking up in the middle of the night with nightmares that leave her a shaking, crying mess.  More often than not, they're silly bad dreams {her cousin stole a broom and wouldn't give it back} but sometimes they're "for real" bad dreams {a stranger stole her}and I think it helps both of us to feel more at ease with her right there on her cot next to the bed.  We'll work on getting her back to her own room, but for now I'm not stressing.

In just a few short months, we'll be registering her for Kindergarten.  Kindergarten.  how do I have a kid old enough to be in Kindergarten?  And what the hell am I going to do without her here with me all day?

In a word, Bailey is FABULOUS.  She's growing like a weed, speaking like a little adult, and I love how confident she is when it comes to meeting new people.  I have no doubt that when it comes time for her to "leave the nest" as they say, that she'll be just as awesome as she is now.  And I can't wait to watch her grow. 



Gerry, Gerry, Gerry.  Just like with Bailey, there aren't enough words in our language to describe him.  He's almost 20 months old now and he's my little hellion.  Anything he can climb on, get into, or throw around, he does.  With joy.  My dad often jokes that Gerry just walks into a room and looks for things he can get into, and he's absolutely right.   To him, the entire world and everything in it is up for grabs and just waiting to be explored and uncovered, and I love that about him. 

He loves pretty much ALL foods, but he has a ton of fun eating spaghetti.  He tried to slurp it up like Bailey does but pretty much always just ends up dumping his plate on the table and digging in, utensil-free.


In the last few weeks, Gerry's vocabulary has just exploded.  It's so cool to see all the things that he understands now, and I love that he's becoming more verbal.  He can actually tell us now when he wants something, whether it be a snack, a bottle, to open something, his blanket, a car, whatever.   His newest phrases are "Found you!" and "Where are you?"  He'll walk around the house pointing at Bailey and yelling, "Ha!  Ha!  Found you!" or looking for Scott..."Daddy?  Where are you?"  So cool.  

During the day, he never stops.  Ever.  He's a little ball of energy and craziness, and it's just go-go-go from the minute he wakes up until the minute he passes out for nap or bed time.  But when he's sleeping?  Oh my goodness, is he angelic.  So still and quiet and adorable.  Lately, he's been waking up in the middle of the night so Scott and I have revived our old middle-of-the-night standby:  he goes in to get Gerry out of his crib while I run downstairs and warm up a little bit of milk for him.  The last few nights, when I go back into the room, Gerry holds his arms out and leans toward me and says in his sleep-filled little voice, "Want you"...and right then and there my heart just melts

 He loves to play and be silly and, lately, his favorite thing to do is to dance.  Seriously.  The second he hears even a hint of a beat he stops whatever he's doing and starts dancing.  It's awesome and hilarious and I hope he never outgrows it.  He's also a fan of bright and sparkly things.  I can't tell you how often he asks me to put this skirt on him, and I can't stress enough how much Scott HATES it.  But it makes our kid happy, and who am I to stand in the way of his happiness?

He's just so damn mischievous and happy all the time.  The only times he's not walking around with a smile on his face are when he's sick or very, very tired.  Otherwise, it's all happy all the time.  

He still loves the hell out of Bailey, and looks for her as soon as he wakes up in the morning.  He gets a kick out of playing with her, and I can't help but laugh when I watch them play together.  More often than not these days, he's attempting to terrorize her by knocking her toys over or taking her doll and running away with it, but she just goes with it...and they have fun! 

Just like with Bailey, I cannot wait to watch this little guy grow.  And I'm so lucky that I get to do just that.

Monday, August 18, 2014

That Time My Kid Had Leprosy

Just kidding.  No one had leprosy over here.  Close enough, though.  All last week, we battled the dreaded Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.  And let me be the first to say that it suuucked.  Never heard of it?  Never suffered from it {or had a kid who suffered with it}?  Here's a picture of Gerry's arm on the very first day with HFM.  By day 3, he was covered head to toe in this awful, pus-filled, blistery rash.  The only place...literally, the only place...on his body that wasn't covered in the disgusting mess was his forehead and the tops of his cheeks.  No joke.  There were blisters between his fingers and toes, in his ears, his mouth, the bottoms of his feet. 


Saturday night, I was out of town and Scott and Gerry were at home.  My parents had taken Bailey to the beach for the weekend, so I drove down Saturday afternoon to pick her up and then spent the night into Sunday before heading home.  Scott texted me around 11:15 Saturday night...

"G not sleeping.  What should I do?"  Thinking he was just fussy because I hadn't been there to put him to bed, I gave Scott a few tips to try with Gerry.  Nothing worked, and they were both up most of the night.  So I was prepared to come home to a sick kid...but I was not prepared to come home to a sick leper. 

Sunday was spent alternating between this:

 And this:

 To say he was miserable would be a huge understatement.  It felt like every morning he woke up with more blisters {he limped around for two solid days because of the sores on the bottoms of his feet} and he didn't eat for three days.  It was a 6-day-long cycle of wake, cry, sleep for a few minutes, wake, cry, sleep...

Not being able to do anything for him was the worst part {for me}.  I gave him Tylenol to keep him comfortable and because the sores in his throat were hurting but, beyond that, there's nothing to do for HFM but sit back, ride it out, and sanitize the hell out of your house.  We kept Bailey and Gerry as separated as humanly possible. and just did our best to keep Gerry as comfortable as possible while he dealt with the worst of it.  By Wednesday afternoon, he'd started eating a bit here and there.  By Thursday, he was sleeping better at night.  And by Friday, he was just about back to his normal, happy, smiley self. 

It's been more than a week, and he still has blisters on his arms and legs.  He had such a bad case that I expect those blisters to stick around for quite awhile {luckily, he's no longer contagious}.  But, other than that, he's back to giggling and causing mischief wherever he goes.  So far, Bailey seems to have come through completely unscathed {knock on wood!}

And, on the bright side, I've got enough cleaner in my house now to last quite a while!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Mean Girls: Toddler Version

Every time I look at this picture my heart just sinks.  

Yesterday, Bailey had her first taste of  "friendly heartbreak" when two of her friends didn't want to play with her.  It wouldn't have been so bad if it were just some random kids at the park blowing her off, but these were her two best friends.  And they wouldn't play with her, no matter how hard she tried to get them to.  They played with each other, but whenever Bailey asked to play or just inserted herself into whatever game or scenario they were acting out, she was shut down pretty quickly.  They were playing some game where one of the girls was "the boyfriend" and the other was "the girlfriend".  Bailey's solution was to have two girlfriends so they could all play, but the other two girls just kept shooing her away.  After a few minutes, one of the girls came back to Bailey and said, "Okay, come on, you can be the girlfriend now and I'll be the boyfriend."  Bailey's eyes lit up and she said, "Okay!" and hopped up from where she was sitting.  But then that same girl turned to her and said, "Okay, now I'm breaking up with you.  You can't play with us anymore."  She walked away and left Bailey sitting there.

And that's when I took this picture. 

Even now, a day later, I can't look at it without getting tears in my eyes.  After her friends skipped away {hand in hand, of course}, Bailey dropped back down to the steps and just sat there.  Defeated.  Sad.  Lonely.  The adult in me recognized that this was, potentially, a pivotal moment for her and that how she handled the situation now could be a pretty good indicator of how she'd handle issues like this in school one day {God forbid, right?}.  The rational part of me knew that this is what kids sometimes do and that, by the next morning, all would be forgotten in their little world.  But the mother in me?  Well, she was just as heartbroken as her daughter in this moment.

I wanted to grab those two little girls, drag them back across the yard, and demand to know why my daughter wasn't good enough to play with.  I wanted to ask them why there couldn't be two girlfriends in their play scenario and why they couldn't find a way to include her in whatever it was they were playing.  I wanted to force them to include her.  Instead, I walked over and sat down on the steps next to my little girl.

"I'm sorry your friends aren't playing with you, hon.  But I'll play with you!  Want me to be the boyfriend?"

She just shook her head.  "{Friend's name} is the boyfriend and she breaked-ed up with me."

I offered to play ball with her.  To play dolls.  To color.  But she just wanted to play with her friends, and that wasn't happening.  I wanted to make those other two girls sit in a long timeout for being mean and making my daughter feel sad {how's that for mommy entitlement, huh?}.  Instead, I called them over to where I was sitting with Bailey and talked to them all about being friends and including everyone in their play.  They listened and told me they understood at the appropriate times, and then the three of them ran off together to play.

Not two minutes later, I hear friend #2:  "We don't want to play with you, Bailey!"  And I watched Bailey's shoulders slump, watched her make the same slow walk back to those damn steps, watched her sit back down and just watch everyone else playing.  And it was like my heart was breaking right there with hers.

I know that it won't help if I fight all of her battles for her.  I know that this particular issue is something that she'll face, in various different forms, all of her life and that she'll be much better off if she learns how to cope on her own.  I know that this is part of growing up.  I know that, by tomorrow, this whole thing will be forgotten and everyone involved, including Bailey, won't even remember that it happened.  I know that, when all is said and done, she's an amazing kid and she'll have lots of true friends as she gets older.  I know this. But that doesn't make it any easier to watch.

I had a talk with Bailey.  As much of a "talk" as you can have with a 4-year-old, anyway.  And I told her that sometimes our friends don't want to be nice and don't want to play with us and, even though it hurts our feelings, that's okay.  I told her that it would be a good opportunity to make other friends, and that having lots of friends is a good thing.  I told her that, even if her friends didn't want to play with her in that moment, that they still liked her.  And that, no matter what, I would always play with her if she wanted me to. 

And so the day went.  Her two friends included her a bit more, but still weren't being very good friends.  Basically, let her play "with them", but didn't actually include her in anything.  And it made me so ridiculously sad to see her so upset over it.  So, later that day when she asked if we could have a "Mommy-Sweetie" day {go to the mall, hit the play place, and finish up with some froyo} I told her that we absolutely could.

When I was a freshman in high school, a boy on the bus told me that I was ugly.  To this day, I've never forgotten it and I haven't forgotten that my mom and I sort of had our own "Mommy-Sweetie" day after.  I don't remember all the little details from that day but I do remember walking off the bus dry-eyed, determined not to let those kids see me cry, and then crying when I told my mom what the boy had said, and I remember that she consoled me and took me to get my hair cut that very night.  And that new hair cut did wonders for me.  It didn't make me forget that I'd been called ugly on a bus full of high schoolers and it didn't take away the sting of embarrassment whenever I replayed it in my mind that night.  But it did help me to feel better about myself.  For a little while, I wasn't the ugly girl on the bus.  And I loved my new haircut.  So much so that I walked on the bus the next day, not necessarily proudly and with my head held high, but with enough confidence that I wasn't ready to burst into tears when that boy and his idiot friends glanced my way.  It was a simple thing, that hair cut, but it made all the difference in that moment and I will never forget it.

So Bailey and I went to the mall, hit up the play place, walked around the toy store for a bit, and got some froyo before heading home.  My own version of "the haircut", only this time I was my mom.  By the time we'd gotten home last night, the hurt she'd felt from the day was pretty much completely forgotten on her part.  {Froyo tends to have that effect on things, I think.}

This morning, she's back to her smiley self, the problems of yesterday forgotten.  A completely inconsequential event in her life so far, but somewhat monumental to me.  I know that she's going to encounter situations like this all the time as she gets older, and I know that it's up to me to help her through them and let her know that I'm there {froyo, hair cuts, and all}.

 I just didn't think I'd have to start at 4 years old!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

My Surf's Up VoxBox Review*

So, now that we're back from our week-long beach vacation {I've got a post coming up on that!} I can give my honest review of all of the products I received in my Surf's Up VoxBox*.  First off, BIG THANKS to Influenster because receiving these products for free was awesome and I thoroughly enjoyed testing them all out!

Okay, so here's what came in the VoxBox*:

1.  Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Shampoo and Conditioner
2.  SinfulColors Professional Nail Polish
3.  First Aid Shot Therapy
4.  Jamba Juice Smoothie Kits
5.  Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration After Sun

  • First up...Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Shampoo and Conditioner.    

This stuff was awesome!  Not only did it smell FANTASTIC {beachy, coconut-y, summer-y, wonderful} but it actually did what it was supposed to do.  I have naturally wavy hair and, normally, it takes a fair amount of gel and hair spray to keep it tamed and not a bushy mess.  I'll be honest.  Before I used this shampoo and conditioner, I didn't have high hopes for it actually doing anything different for my hair.  I was pumped about the smell and figured it couldn't hurt to try it.  After using it, though, I love it--and highly endorse it!  I was able to style my hair with nothing but a squirt or two of hair spray and it stayed soft and frizz-free...even after spending an evening on the boardwalk in humid Ocean City, NJ.  And have I mentioned how good it smells?  If you haven't tried the Not Your Mother's Beach Babe products, do it!  You have nothing to lose, and I will definitely be purchasing this brand in the future. 

  • Next up...the SinfulColors Professional Nail Polish.  

When Bailey saw this in my VoxBox she went nuts.  For a 4-year-old, that girl is waaaay more interested in nail polish and "Elsa braids" than I'm happy with.  Her eyes lit up when I unpacked the box and she saw this polish.  The color I received was called Anchors Away and I was a little leery about trying it at first.  I have pale skin and I wasn't sure that this yellowy-orange color was going to work on me.  But, again, the polish was free and I wanted needed a manicure before leaving for vacation  so I thought, what the hell.  The polish went on nice and smooth, and actually looked better than I expected.  I also decorated the nail on my ring finger {because why not?} with another SinfulColors polish, Thimbleberry, and I think my self-done mani looked better than expected.

Not bad, right?  I used the Thimbleberry on Bailey's nails {"Mommy, it's pink!"} and then let her give me a pedicure.  And then, later on in the week, we came across even more SinfulColors polishes at we chose a few more colors to add to our collection.

Thimbleberry, a sparkly pink, and Rise & Shine
I've always used OPI nail polish, mainly because it's what they use at my nail salon and I know pretty much nothing about nail polish.  Honestly, I'd never even noticed the SinfulColors Nail Polish brand before receiving it in the VoxBox.  But now, when we go to the store, Bailey and I look out for the SinfulColors display and I will absolutely be buying this brand and ONLY this brand from now on.  More than a week after first putting it on, my polish still looks great and is only slightly chipped in the corner of one nail.  And at $1.99 per bottle, you CAN'T beat the price.  Whatever brand you're using now, switch.  I promise you won't be disappointed!

  • I received the Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration After Sun just before leaving for vacation {they were out of this product when my VoxBox shipped, so it was shipped separately at a later date}, so I didn't get a chance to take a picture of it but trust me when I say that it, too, is as awesome as the rest of the products in my VoxBox.  I use SPF50 sunscreen daily when I'm outside or on vacation and I seem to always burn, no matter how much I use.  So having this on vacation at the beach with me was a godsend.  I used it on a sunburn and it was lovely.  It left my skin moisturized and it smelled soooo good.  Scott used it on a spot of sunburn, too.  Like most of the products I received in this VoxBox, I didn't really notice Hawaiian Tropic in the store.  I tend to go for the "tried and true", the brands my mom used when I was little.  Coppertone.  Banana Boat.  Aveeno.  But I love the Hawaiian Tropic brand now.  Normally, I have to apply and reapply and reapply after-sun lotions and my skin still feels dry and tight afterward.  The Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration After Sun is the first product I've used that actually worked and worked well.  I'm a believer!

Unfortunately, I haven't tried the First Aid Shot Therapy yet, and it's only because of sheer stupidity on my part.  I have chronic back pain and I get headaches a lot, but I'm so used to popping a few Tylenol or Aleve that I just went on autopilot and completely forgot  that I had the First Aid Shot Therapy with me.  When I do use it, I'll come back and update on how it worked.

Same thing with the Jamba Juice Smoothie Kits.  I haven't had a chance to try these yet, but I have high hopes for them.  I'm a BIG fan of Jamba Juice and I'm almost certain that I'll like the at-home smoothie kits, too.  Can't wait to try them!

So, to sum things up, the products I received in my Surf's Up VoxBox were AWESOME!  I've definitely decided toswitch brands of shampoo/conditioner and nail polish and will be purchasing Hawaiian Tropic products any time I need sunscreen or after sun relief.  You can find all of these products at your local drug store or chain market.  So run to your nearest Walgreen's, Walmart, or Target and try them out for yourself.  And don't forget to send me your email address for an invite to join Influenster!

*I received these products free from Influenster for testing purposes. 


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