Tuesday, October 30, 2012

hurricane sandy

Weather-related closings take on new meaning as a stay-at-home-mom. I no longer get the day off and we're housebound, which is especially tough when Mason keeps bringing me his shoes (his way of asking to go outside). The upside? Brad's here to help care for and entertain our boy. Believe me, trapped in a small space with a thirteen-month-old, it takes two of us!

Local readers, how are you passing the time indoors?

Monday, October 29, 2012

mama's boy

Tell me, are all little boys Mama's boys? Or am I just  extraordinarily blessed to have one?

Mason is in such an affectionate stage right now. He gives Brad and me open-mouth kisses and zerberts, voluntarily and on command. He reaches for and kisses pictures of us. He also enjoys smooching characters in his picture books, himself in the mirror, and other babies, so it's not all about Mama and Dada.

But much of the time, he's all about Mama. His face crinkles and lip pooches when I leave him, and he acts so sad! Mason asks for me and marches Brad all around the house to find me if I've left the room or gone upstairs without him. He will even play favorites during story time and meal time by indicating his preference for me to read to or feed him (rather than Brad). And of course, if he's hurt or really upset, no one but Mama will do.

As much as I love the attention, I don't love how Mason's actions occasionally hurt Brad's feelings. That's not acceptable at all.  But at the same time, I believe that this period of adoration is just a stage. Once Brad teaches him to play ball and do little boy things, Mason will be all about Dada. Until then, I will cherish this unconditional love and constant attention from my little man, all while making sure he gets plenty of alone time with Dada, of course.

Do you have a Mama's boy or a Dada's girl? Or what about a Mommy's girl or a Daddy's boy? And how do you keep one parent from feeling left out?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

comfy and roomy

Sometimes I really miss the bucket car seat and its ability to keep my curious boy contained. Because Mason is tall for his age, he outgrew his infant car seat when he was only seven months old. We upgraded to a convertible car seat and retired the bucket seat to the basement, with all of the other outgrown baby items.

Imagine my surprise and delight to learn that Graco makes a rear-facing bucket car seat for children up to 40 pounds and two years: the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40. Last week, I joined other DC and Baltimore area bloggers at Stephanie's house for an information session and live demonstration of the seat's key features.

I walked away from the event in awe of this car seat. Every criticism I have about Mason's current convertible car seat is nonexistent with the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40

Photo credit: Stephanie Torres
This seat has amazing leg room, which is important for tall boys like mine. The base adjusts with eight different reclining positions to offer the most leg room of any rear-facing, infant car seat. Being able to recline farther keeps Mason's head from flopping forward when he falls asleep. I suspect he will not only sleep more comfortably, especially with the seat's extra padding and high quality fabrics, while riding in the car, but also for longer--a win for both of us!

This seat grows with your baby. Without having to rethread the harness, I can adjust it and the headrest with one hand. The adjustable canopy--an infant car seat feature I didn't realize I would miss so much--effectively keeps the sun out of Mason's eyes.

Brad, Mason, and I are driving 1,000 miles round trip over Thanksgiving, and I'm hopeful that this car seat's comfort and roominess will help make the trip a pleasant experience for all three of us.

The Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 40 – the first and only newborn to two-year infant car seat that actually grows with your baby from four pounds all the way up to 40 pounds. The car seat is designed for a parent on the go. The infant car seat can be easily removed from the base and used as a carrier when the infant is small, providing portability and convenience so you can easily move your infant in and out of the car without disturbing them.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently made the recommendation to keep all children in rear-facing car seats until the age of 2. Graco set out to make this product so parents can keep infants rear facing longer while still keeping them comfortable.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Graco. The opinions and text are all mine.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Am I the last person on earth to join Twitter? Even my social-media avoiding husband has been addicted to Twitter for years now. Despite his encouragement to sign up, I've refused, saying, "I don't need another distraction."

Well, I really don't need another distraction. But I attended a blogging event last week and I was the only person in the room not tweeting throughout the evening.

So, I came home and caved. I signed up that night. My Twitter handle is DrBlondieDC.

Are you on Twitter? If so, I'd love to follow you. Please share your Twitter handle in a comment.

Monday, October 22, 2012

children's book recommendations

Mason's favorite book seems to change weekly. He went through a stage around eight or nine months where he would writhe with excitement at the mere sight of Little Ladybug and Tails.

Mason selects the books we read. Here are a few of his current favorites:

Of course, like any avid reader, I have my own favorites:

Nearly all of my most beloved books have come from personal recommendations, and I'm on the market for suggestions as I will soon compile Mason's Christmas list. What are your children's favorite books? Which ones do you most enjoy (and not tire of) reading?

Friday, October 19, 2012


Years ago, I remember reading in my medical insurance booklet that one mammogram would be covered between the ages of 35-40 and thinking that I should take advantage of this benefit to get baseline images of my breasts, should I experience any problems in the future. At that time, a college friend had been diagnosed, at age 34, with breast cancer. But I've been so distracted the past few years with infertility, pregnancy losses, pregnancy, and, praise God, parenthood, that it completely slipped my mind until recently. Suddenly, age 40 seems right around the corner--well, 16 months from now anyway!

Now that I am not pregnant or breastfeeding, the timing for such an exam proved perfect. I went to Capital Breast Care Center, with a convenient location on Capitol Hill, last week, and the staff were friendly and professional. I highly recommend this center. The procedure was uncomfortable, but not painful, and it took not even an hour of my time. Thinking about and staying on top of my long-term health and wellness suddenly seems much more important now that I have a little one.

Have you had a mammogram? At what age did you get your first one? What was your experience?

Disclosure: No one associated with Capital Breast Care Center has any idea that I wrote this post--all opinions are my own. Happy National Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

a first for everything

After being married for more than ten years and eating 95% of our meals at home (that I prepare), guess what I just did for the first time?

I made breakfast for dinner, specifically, waffles and omelettes with cherry tomatoes, arugula, and cheese.

This meal tasted amazing, was quick to make, and allowed me to use up a number of perishable items in the fridge. Mason gobbled it up.

Yep, now I see what all the rage is about. 

What are your favorite breakfast-for-dinner dishes?

Monday, October 15, 2012

on weaning, continued

Breastfeeding in our house has officially come to an end. September 30th was my self-imposed deadline to stop, and I've stuck to it. I miss the nursing sessions like I miss feeling Baby's (aka Mason's) nudges, pokes, and kicks during pregnancy. A small part of me will yearn for those experiences for a while, perhaps forever. They are some of life's most special seasons--all mind blowing, humbling, and incredibly fleeting.

Mason balked when we first began the weaning process in early August, but by the end, he was so used to bottles, he barely noticed that nursing had ended. Although it initially hurt my feelings, I'm glad he took to cows' milk as easily as he did.

Weaning him from the bottle, however, has proven extremely difficult. Wouldn't you know it that he finally learned to hold his bottle and feed himself only about a week or two before we took the bottle away? (Having few bottles these past six months, since we pulled him out of daycare, he's never had a consistent string of bottles with which to learn.) How convenient to put Mason and his bottle in the stroller and he could feed himself! I was sad to give that up. He's a little messier with the sippy cup.

This past Friday, Brad and I went cold turkey and put away all the bottles. We explained the situation to him, and geared up for a battle. He not only refused any sippy cup (with milk or water) all day, he grew downright angry each time a sippy cup even crossed his line of vision, almost as if he were insulted by the mere sight of it. You can see in the picture below that by Saturday (day 2), things weren't much better. (Side note: poor timing on our parts with trying to wean him from the bottle and take our annual trip to the pumpkin patch, all in the same weekend. It was a little much for all of us.)

Even by the end of Saturday, he was still a wreck.

On Sunday (day 3), he took sporadic sips of milk from the sippy cup during the day, which gave us hope! But then Mason got angry again and had a complete meltdown when offered milk in the sippy cup at bedtime. We'll see what my bullheaded boy pulls today (day 4). He can't hold out that much longer. Or can he?

Does anyone else have a stubborn child like mine?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

little fits

There are two surefire ways to spark Mason's quick temper: put him in the stroller to leave after playing at the park and tell him it's time to go inside after strolling up and down the walk in front of our house. It doesn't matter how long he's played at the park or walked outside, or how hot and exhausted he is. Mason is relentless. When he wants something, or wants to do something, he has a one-track mind.

First, he ignores my instructions and tries to keep playing or walking. Next, he relaxes his body and throws himself on the ground, all while crying and yelling. I pick him up and he tries to get back down. Of course, these scenes always occur in front of friends and neighbors.

Mason just turned one year. Isn't he a little young to start acting like this?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I found this bag of 30 tulip bulbs for $4.99 at Aldi and I couldn't say no. Even if they don't come up, at least I only spent $5. I've never planted fall bulbs, but I've always wanted to. Lacking an open bed, I tucked them here and there all over my yard. I'm looking forward to beautiful spring colors in random places!

Are you planting fall bulbs? Which ones?

Friday, October 5, 2012

the relationship and its jobs

A few weeks ago, soon after my official last day at work, several friends posted links to this parenting article on facebook. Maybe it was the timing, but this piece really resonated and it's been weighing on my mind since then.

I love, love, love how Moxie distinguished the relationship of parenthood from its associated jobs, and then posed the million dollar question: "Do you want the relationship enough to suffer through the jobs?"

Her reasoning, which I found right on target, makes it even clearer why there is no universal answer to the often heartwrenching dilemma of whether or not to stay home with your child. The answer is different for every person and family, and one may not know what's best until long after the baby arrives.

I just wish that more parents felt like they truly had a choice in the matter.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Those of you who follow Mason's blog know that each month, I've taken a picture of him with a sticker on his chest that designates how old he is. I bought this package of stickers soon after he was born and started with the first sticker: one month. Imagine my surprise and dismay when I pulled out what I thought was the last sticker in the package--12 months--and found this:

I missed a sticker! Agh!

But why on earth would zero be the last sticker in the package? Shouldn't it have been first?

Has this happened to anyone else or did I just receive a defunct package?

Monday, October 1, 2012

apple picking

Family outings have taken on new meaning with a little one. Brad and I call these "mandatory fun days". These excursions are much more enjoyable for us than for Mason right now, especially if the day's destination involves a lengthy car ride, but maybe one day, he'll feel differently.

Local readers, have you discovered Larriland Farm? What a gem! We went to pick apples, but they also currently have spinach, beets, swiss chard, tomatoes, and pumpkins. Huge fields! Stunning views! And only an hour's drive from DC.

Reliving my childhood, I climbed a tree. Brad handed Mason up to me so that he could pick his first apple.

Yes, here we are, up in a tree, balancing on a limb to pick the perfect apple.
We all sampled the goods. Scrumptious!

This Maryland farm is top notch--not at all cheesy or chintzy--offering a huge variety of fruits, vegetables, and flowers to pick for what I thought were reasonable prices. And isn't there something so romantic about picking your own produce? (I am a farmer's daughter. I spent years "picking my own". And there was nothing romantic about it. But time and distance have made my memory rosy.)

I look forward to making other trips to Larriland Farm during strawberry, raspberry, and peach seasons next year. What is your favorite fruit or vegetable to harvest yourself?