Gone Girl

21480930I picked up Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn completely due to peer pressure. That and I like a good mystery/suspense novel.

My mom got me hooked on mysteries when I was in middle school. By the time I was in seventh grade, I had read all that was available to me by way of Sweet Valley Twins and Sweet Valley High and all the other series that were aimed at my age group. I needed something more challenging.  That was when my mom introduced me to Agatha Christie. It didn’t take me long to read through ALL of Christie’s novels. More than once.

By high school, I needed something else. My cousin introduced me to Mary Higgins Clark and from there I also found John Grisham. I haven’t picked up too many mystery/suspense books since then, although when a good one comes along, I try to get to it.

That being said, I wasn’t going to read Gone Girl because I don’t tend to like books with a lot of hype. But everyone hated the ending and everyone was so mad when they finished, so of course I figured, “well now I have to read it because I will probably like the ending…or at least be able to defend it,” because I am snobby and full of myself that way.

Ok so I started it and I was bored to tears. It took me forever to get through the first third of the book. I didn’t particularly like any of the characters–not enough to care about them or root for them or anything. The story is an old one: wife goes missing; husband is a suspect; reader tries to figure out if he’s guilty before the book tells you. The challenge is to keep it interesting, which it was NOT for the first part of the novel. I liked that every other chapter bounced between first person accounts from the husband and the wife–his present-day thoughts and her past-tense thoughts from her diary, but it wasn’t enough. I quit the book.

I told all this to a friend of mine who then asked, “Well what part are you up to?” When I told her she replied, “Oh stuff is about to BLOW UP. Start reading again!”

She was right. I read another chapter and then BOOM! Plot twists and turns and bombs dropped. Just when you think you know what’s going on? Nope.  So I started binge reading.

Then I got all bored again once I knew what happened to the wife.

By the time I got within a few chapters of the end of the book, I totally knew how it was going to end, but I couldn’t put it down because this book had just enough surprises that even though I thought I knew, I wasn’t sure I knew. Ya know? I ended up being mostly right about the end, but I wasn’t angry like everyone else was.

I didn’t think the ending was “fair”, but it didn’t surprise me.

In fact, I likened Gone Girl to The Great Gatsby in the following ways: it’s sort of a boring basic plot, none of the characters are likable–or trustworthy, for that matter, and the ending pretty much makes you mad because that is NOT how it’s supposed to go.

The difference is that The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite novels of all time particularly because I know so much about Fitzgerald’s process and his writing style/word choice make my literature nerd heart happy. Gone Girl, on the other hand has Ok writing, but it’s not enough to make me want to re-read and love to hate the characters the way I do with Tom, Nick, and Daisy.

I’m not mad that I gave in and read Gone Girl, and despite this review, I would actually recommend that if you haven’t read it, maybe you should. I do want to see the movie too.

Talk to me: have you read it? Have you seen the movie?  Thoughts?

Rocking Through Spring Break

I was not looking forward to spring break. Not even a little bit. In fact, I watched the days tick down on the calendar with a sense of doom.

Alice was only a month old and we hadn’t yet found our “groove”. Spring break meant throwing both boys into the mix. I wasn’t too worried about Eddie, but Charlie is sort of a live wire.  He likes to do what he wants to do how he wants to do it when he wants to do it…usually when my hands are full of baby.

Therefore I planned to have Charlie in daycare three of the six week days.

I know, I’m a wimp.

The other days I quickly realized he (and Eddie, really) needs direction with what to do and since the weather was cold and rainy all week, “what to do” had to be indoor activities.

We played with play dough and did water paints and coloring books. We cleaned up the playroom and ate lots of cheese sandwiches (Charlie’s favorite lunch). And we did it to music!

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This is where I admit that despite my music snobbery, our family is crazy for Kidz Bop. We have Kidz Bop 24, 25, 27, and now 28. Seriously, my  younger self would be shocked to learn that when I hit my mid-30’s, I would be Ok with (fine, I would even LIKE) to sing Shake it Off at the top of my lungs with the Kidz Bop group.

Here is the thing: I’m really not a giant fan of pop music, but Kidz Bop tends to choose the few songs I do like..or at least the songs that are serious ear worms. For instance, we found ourselves jamming to lyrically appropriate (if not hilarious to those of us who know the real lyrics) versions of Fancy, Shake it Off, and All About that Base on Kidz Bop 27.  My boys’ favorite song on KB 28 is Uptown Funk which they call Hot Pants. If you know the song, you can probably figure out where they got that from.

We mostly listen to our Kidz Bop CDs in the car. Over spring break, Eddie and I went to see a movie together, and we had about a 30-minute drive to get to the theater. You better believe we were jamming out to some Steal My Girl  and Lips are Movin’.

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And while I would ALWAYS rather be listening to the Pearl Jam channel on satellite radio, I would much rather have the kids request a Kidz Bop album than something with Wheels on the Bus on it.

So Spring Break was still a challenge since I’m not used to three kids just yet, but we at least had fun and danced our way through it.

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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. Kidz Bop sends me CDs and the boys and I listen to them. All opinions are our own.

Until it Sleeps

There is a beast that lives inside my brain.

It tells me untruths about my worthlessness and my capabilities. It threatens my children and my husband’s lives. It shows me pictures that are false so that I will believe that I am harmful.

The beast wants me to believe that I am the monster, and that it–the beast–holds the logical answer to keeping my family safe. It wants me gone.

It tears me down and beats me into submission until I agree that I am dirt and I claw my way to bed and stay there.

The beast is tricky. One minute it allows me fun with a friend, but later distorts the images when it replays it in my mind. It causes me to second guess every comment and reaction. The beast delights in my paranoia. It finds joy in creating awkward distance between me and others.

When the beast sleeps, all is well. I can laugh and imagine and create. I can be the me I know. The me my husband fell in love with.

But when it awakes, it physically hurts. First my head and back begin to ache. Then long, dark fingers wrap around the back of my eyes and everything gets tinted black. And once it starts, I can’t get away until the beast decides to retreat and go back to sleep.

The beast grows bigger the less sleep I get, the less I take care of myself, the less I ask for and accept help. Yet at the same time, the beast hisses in my ear that I do not deserve any of these things.

And I believe him.

Where do I take this pain of mine?
I run, but it stays right by my side
So tear me open, pour me out
There’s things inside that scream and shout
And the pain still hates me

So hold me until it sleeps.*

I live with depression and anxiety every day. Even when it seems to not be there, it’s there. It’s been five years since I was officially diagnosed with postpartum mood disorders–disorders that have grown and morphed with each pregnancy.

It’s been five years since Cortney gently suggested I get help and I agreed.

Five years since the work of healing and learning to battle the beast began.

And I am not alone.

There are so many women out there who suffer in silence and do not get the help they need or deserve. This is why I am so honored to be a contributor in an anthology dedicated to those moms titled Mothering Through the Darkness available November 2015.

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The essay that I contributed is one of my most raw and honest yet describing my very first experience with postpartum depression after Eddie was born. In it, I finally come completely clean about the rage and hate and paranoia that filled my head. But I also talk about getting help.

Depression is a beast, but it’s not unmanageable. It is possible to be stronger than the beast.

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*lyrics from “Until It Sleeps” by Metallica 

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry

91hvgvo-tlI love to read books that are super good, but are not the ones that are being talked about all over Facebook and the Today show. The ones that someone recommends to you because they loved it, but whenever you ask anyone else if they’ve read it, they say no.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin came to me in church. A friend came up to me with it and said, “Hey Katie, our book club just finished this book and I just think you will really like it. I always think of you and your classroom when I read a really good book and want to pass it along.”

I was busy reading The Giver and Animal Farm and getting ready to plan out those units before I went on maternity leave, so I put it on my To Read pile. Just before Alice was born, I picked it up and totally got hooked.

The title character, A.J. Fikry, reminds me a lot of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, only literary instead of sciencey. He is the ornery, particular, owner of the only bookstore on Alice Island, Massachusetts.  As a middle-aged widow (his beautiful, care-free wife died in a car accident), he talks to few and is rude to many.  Then a series of strange things happen–an almost priceless Edgar Allen Poe piece is stolen, a “package” shows up in his store–that change his life.

The book is separated into chapters with titles the same as short stories–which Fikry claims to prefer over novels–and a brief synopsis of what the short story is about.  Literature nerds like myself will appreciate all the literary references and allusions not just from the chapter title pages, but throughout the entire novel. And as cliche as it sounds, I really can’t give away more of the plot because it would ruin the magic of it unfolding for you.

It’s a quick read–especially if you do lean more toward the literary–but it’s both heartwarming and heartbreaking, if that is possible. There are times when you totally see what’s coming, but it’s not a bad thing. And then there are times when you are blindsided and you want it to be all cliche and happy.

I found The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry  to be the perfect read for helping me relax in the evenings as my csection date with Alice approached, and then for the evenings in the hospital before I went to sleep. It wasn’t too heavy, but it wasn’t just fluff either.

Because this book straddled my time between pregnant with Alice and her first week home, I’ll always remember it fondly.

Have you read this one? What are you reading right now?

 

One Month

Dear Alice,

Oh sweet girl, we made it through the first month of your life. Can you believe it? Nope. We can’t either.

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It’s been a whirlwind of activity. It’s definitely true that by your third child, things just move quicker and there is no time for blinking or you’ll miss something.

Our first week was pretty laid back–you slept or ate or pooped.  That was really it. So I slept a lot too since part of the time we were in the hospital and part we were home with daddy. You and I spent about 10 days just recuperating from your moving day from womb to outside world.

Then it got real, as they say.

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At your appointment five days after birth, you had already gained back to your birth weight (you left the hospital a dainty 7lbs 10oz) plus a couple ounces. By your two week appointment you were rocking over nine and a half pounds. Still our tiniest baby, even at a month, you are still in newborn size for jammies and some pants. You’ve pretty much grown too long for newborn onsies, though and are graduating to 3-month size.

You are eating like a champ; already averaging almost 4 oz per feeding. Daddy just bumped you to the #2 nipples so you would stop falling asleep after an ounce in the middle of the night.  He likes to go back to bed, you know.

So I have already packed some things away as DONE: newborn onsies and #1 nipples. The door has closed on those things.

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Your sleeping/eating patterns are starting to become, well, patterns.  Your last feeding for each night is between 10pm and 11:30pm and then you will go about four hours, but that seems to be increasing too. Then you sleep for about three hours before your first morning feeding. I can usually get one or two good “naps” out of you where you sleep by yourself in your bed. The rest of the time you prefer to snooze on me.

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Which brings me to your sleep preferences. You took a turn that made me give you side-eye, my dear. For about a week and a half you suddenly would ONLY sleep on me or daddy. That gave me a nervous twitch because Eddie did that for about a YEAR or more. It was awful.

Daddy thought maybe you got cold in the night and we were also reminded that Charlie always liked to be tightly swaddled, so we busted out a fleece baby wrap and tried it out. It was, as they say, a GAME CHANGER.  You are now a lovely sleeper…in your own bed.

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In your first month you have also had your baptism and celebrated both Charlie and my birthdays. You’ve already been to daycare for a few hours while I took Eddie to a movie this week. You also celebrated your first Easter. Well, you didn’t do a lot of celebrating; you really just were there. But it sure was fun to dress you up in a pretty dress.

Ok, enough stat talk.

Alice, my love, you have changed my life.

Before you, my life revolved around raising good, kind men. I was a boy mom and I took great responsibility in that. I am still a boy mom, and my job with Eddie and Charlie is still very important, but now I am also a girl mom.

Looking into your eyes as I feed you does something to my heart. The way you stare into my eyes looking for comfort and love with your nourishment fills my heart with a determination to be a better woman. To be someone you can look up to with pride. To be a good role model for you.

And to get Starbucks and pedicures with you.

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One minute I will be getting all teary-eyed at how much I love you and how I will live up to be being the best mom possible for you, the next you are tooting in my hand and giving me side-eye.

You SO fit into this family, my Alice Beans.

Let’s keep up the fun!

I love you,

Momma

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Don’t forget that Charlie has a giveaway going on right now! Go enter!

Hippity Hoppity Easter Memories

The minute my crocus poke their heads out of the ground signaling the start of spring, I start thinking about my Grandma.  I have warm memories of my Grandma from every season and holiday, but somehow Christmas and Easter are the most powerful.

When I was very little–probably Eddie’s age–my mom and I would go with my Grandma to our town’s sunrise service on Easter. The more vivid memory, though, is the Easter egg hunt at her house. We didn’t really hunt eggs; Grandma hid candy–lots of candy–throughout her house for me and my brothers and cousins to find. She hid so much, she couldn’t always remember if we had found it all, so inevitably, one of us would find a stale malted egg in the middle of October.

My brothers and I didn’t get elaborate Easter baskets or gifts. We got a boatload of candy from Grandma’s house.

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People seem surprised when I say we don’t do Easter baskets for our kids, but just like when I was a kid, we leave the Easter magic to the grandparents.  My parents get the kids a basket with some candy treats and a few little toys. This year the boys got tennis balls, bubbles, and another small toy (Eddie got a little Lego set and Charlie got some Hot Wheels). Cortney’s mom does the big egg hunt. This year she had 150 eggs in her yard for the kids–six that were able to hunt plus two babies. She also gives each grandchild a small bag with a few dollar store treasures like stickers, balloons, and pinwheels.

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The kids love it.

This year Charlie got an extra Easter gift from Ragtales: a Bo Bunny.

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I have never been big on stuffed animals. Eddie went through a stuffie phase when he was little. He liked to line them all up and watch TV with them. Or make a “parking lot” out of them (to be fair, all lines of things were called “parking lots” to him).

Charlie, on the other hand, adores stuffed animals. Little dude is actually starting to boarder on hoarder status. I try not to encourage it, but I couldn’t say no to Bo Bunny (who Charlie has renamed Bun Bun).

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And I’m glad I didn’t.  I didn’t tell him it was for Easter, but because it came the week of Easter, he said it was for Easter day and he loved it. Aw.

To be fair, Bo Bunny (aka Bun Bun) is super soft. I sort of wanted to tuck it next to my pillow and keep it for myself. The Ragtales line has all sorts of cute animals and dolls and can be found in department stores like Neiman Marcus and FAO Schwartz, but you can win one here! Just enter in the Rafflecopter widget below and one of you may get the gift of Bo Bunny for a little person in your life!
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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I was sent Bo Bunny, but have not been compensated for blogging about it. Opinions are my own and the giveaway is for you from Ragtales. Giveaway open to US shipping addresses only. Ends Monday at midnight (so Sunday night, peeps).

The Baptism

Growing up we had lots of traditions, most ridiculous. My family is famous for saying to each other, “come on! It’s tradition!” Any outsider who hears it usually thinks we are crazy people because we are talking about things like Tootsie Pops at the cottage or decorating Christmas cookies as full-grown adults.

I don’t remember my parents ever saying, “Ok, so we are going to start a tradition where we play Uno at the cottage and in accordance with this tradition, we are going to gang up on each other mercilessly.” Nope. It just happened. And if you tried to pass on playing with us? We all started to whine at you, “BUT IT’S TRADITION,” until you cave.

Happily, it seems that the traditions that are being carved out in the Sluiter family are happening the same way: accidentally.

When we had Eddie, for instance, we chose his name based on the fact that A) we both liked the name “Eddie”, B) “Edward” was Cortney’s great grandpa’s name, and C) “Steven”, Eddie’s middle name, was Cortney’s dad’s name. We never then said, “And henceforth all our children will have middle names that are family names.”

It just happened.  Charlie’s middle name is Thomas, my dad’s name. Alice’s middle name is Katherine, my name.

We were also fortunate enough to be able to have Eddie baptized on Cortney’s dad’s birthday (also, his great grandfather Edward’s birthday coincidentally). From that another tradition started.  Charlie was baptized on April 29, the day before my dad’s birthday (whom he is named after).

And so, because Alice’s middle name is also my name, we wanted her to be baptized near my birthday to make the tradition complete.

My birthday was Friday, March 27, so Alice’s baptism was Sunday, March 29.

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It was also Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week, so the service was going to be special anyway. The little kids sang (that includes Eddie) and marched around waving palm branches.  Cortney missed this part of the service because the cake we ordered for pick up before church, went missing and they had to quick get us a stand-in. I thought I was going to puke with nerves. I kept imagining the baptism being only me and Eddie standing up there.

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Cortney and Charlie made it just as the little kids were getting ready at the front of church to listen to the children’s message about baptism.

Eddie and Charlie’s baptisms were special, of course, but Alice’s was extra special…at least to me, and I think to Cortney for the same reason. With Eddie we weren’t going to church really at all, and with Charlie we were going only very sporadically.  Now, however, we are very much a part of our church family. In fact, our pastor and his wife are close friends of ours.

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I thought that this baptism would have a little smudge of sadness on it for me since it’s one of the first “lasts” of this being our last baby. The Last Baptism. I didn’t feel that sadness though. I felt joy and blessings as a woman who is quickly becoming my friend, asked us if we will bring our baby girl up in the church.  I felt peace and love as a man who we love took our daughter in his arms and lovingly baptized her in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit. I felt a sense of completeness as my family is now all here. My people are all with me. We are all baptized and part of our church family and the Body of Christ.

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My mom pointed out after the service that our pastor does not skimp on the water. He just chuckled because he says he loves to “pile on the grace”. It struck me as he washed the baptismal water over Alice’s head that she has no idea how loved she is. I looked out into the congregation and saw not just our family smiling, but the entire church family. When asked if they will help us teach her the love of Jesus, the “we do” was booming.

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Alice let out only the tiniest of peeps when the water trickled down her forehead. For the most part, she slept comfortably in her gown in the arms of those who love her. After the service, she was surrounded by her church “grannies” as well as her actual grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins.

And then I thought of this space. All you readers.  How much you have loved on Alice since I announced her tiny fetus self was living in my womb.  All the prayers and positive thoughts you’ve all sent her…all of my family, actually.

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We are blessed, indeed.

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” ~1 Corinthians 12:13

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Thank you to all who participated in Alice’s special day by either being present in body or spirit. Thank you to all who took pictures and shared them with us (Liz, Nancy, Gretchen). Thank you also to Gretchen for the beautiful gown and to Mary R and Gretchen for the hankie/bonnet that will get saved for Alice’s wedding day. We love you so much.

What’s My Age Again?

Today is my birthday and I am thirty-seven years old.

I have a lot of friends who hate to be reminded of how old they are, avoid telling people their age, and don’t draw attention to their birthdays. But neither my birthday nor my age make me feel old. Only once did I completely freak out about my age and have a “bad” birthday–the kind where you lie on your bed in your jammies staring at the ceiling and petting your cat and planning out your life as the Crazy Cat Lady.

It was my twenty-fifth and I didn’t have a full-time job (I was barely paying the bills by substitute teaching), had just been dumped from a long-term (five years) relationship, and was back living in my small town that I felt was confining and suffocating.  I was sure that my life was screwed. My master plan for my future had been flushed down the toilet and I felt out of control and out of luck. I didn’t even get out of bed that day.

Within six months, I found out how wrong and ridiculous I had been. That fall I was hired in to my current school district, I had been accepted to grad school, I started dating Cortney, and I was seeing the benefits to living in a small, close-knit community.

That was also the last time I freaked out about being “too old” or about it being “too late” for anything. It was the first and last time I ever cared about my age.

So that brings us to now: thirty-seven–an age where I thought I would be a lot more…settled. I think back to when my parents were my age and I was a kid.  From my perspective, late-30’s is when you are an adult. I’m not sure why, other than that is the age when I began to be aware of how old my parents were in relation to me, so by default late-30’s are when you become an adult.

But here’s the problem: I don’t really know what it’s supposed to feel like to be an adult, although I do think I am probably feeling more adultish lately than I have in the past.

In my 20’s, I was technically an adult, but everything I did felt like I was a kid trying to be an adult. Even at my own wedding when I was twenty-seven I remember saying, “OMG! This is such a GROWN UP THING!  Getting married!!!”

When Cortney’s dad died, I felt like an impostor.  I was just a kid posing as an adult who knew how to cope and grieve with the loss of someone so close.

When I got pregnant the very first time I was twenty-nine. I couldn’t even look my dad in the face to tell him. I knew that he would know what Cortney had done to his daughter to make that happen. I felt like a teenager “in trouble”.

Somehow my thirties slowly changed that attitude, and now at age thirty-seven, I find myself feeling like what I guess is what being an adult feels like.  I think I thought it would feel more boring. Like, once you find yourself being an adult, you are now feeling boring and not caring about being fashionable. Being and “adult” probably feels a lot like giving up on immaturity and inappropriateness.

But I’m finding that is not what it is at all…or at least not what it is for me.

It’s hard to explain.There is a feeling of being “in charge” and being more confident, yet I’m still ridiculous and immature–I mean, farts will ALWAYS be funny.  Sorry Mom.

I have gotten two degrees and am working on applying for my third, yet I still use the word “turd” regularly.

I can take charge of a classroom of eighth graders, yet I rap to DMX (loudly) in the car (without kids, I’m not that ridiculous).

It’s like by this age I have stepped up my game of responsibility while at the same time embracing the stuff that may be immature, but makes me ME.  Some of my strongest writing is academic, but I promise you that I will never get so scholarly that I am above using words like “crap bag”.

While thirty-seven is all adultish to me, I also know that being an adult doesn’t mean my life is over. There are still lots of things I want to do when I grow up.  Ok, I am grown up…but I know I will grow up even more which means there are so many more possibilities out there.

Thirty-seven is really just the beginning of a whole new era! One where all my children are born and my husband is a part-owner of a business and I get to weigh the possibility of a new degree and even more opportunities. That is the fun of being an adult–you get to pick what to do next. You get to choose your own adventure!

You get to eat from the secret stash of birthday cake Oreos when the kids aren’t looking even though you had dessert with them a few minutes ago!

So yes, I am thirty-seven and an adult.

Let’s eat cake!

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Have you donated a book to the March Book Shower yet?

 

Netflix for Maternity Leave

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I am currently sitting in our big leather chair, a baby snoring quietly on my  lap, a cup of coffee getting cold on the arm rest, and Friends via Netflix on the TV.

I am on maternity leave.

how we spend most of our time together, hence lots of Netflix.

how we spend most of our time together, hence lots of Netflix.

In preparation for maternity leave, I made a list of shows that I want to binge watch during those long days when I have a baby on me.

  • Friends – I have been looking forward to this since they announced earlier this year that the favorite sitcom was coming to Netflix. I am already on season four after spending the hours of 11am until about 2pm watching it every day.
  • Orange is the New Black – I read the book last summer in preparation for meeting Piper Kerman at Netflix HQ in California, but I was saving the show for maternity leave.
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – This is the newest to my list and it’s also new to Netflix. I’ve heard hilarious reviews, so it’s on my list because I like to laugh, yo.
  • Portlandia – Cortney and I started watching this when we first got Netflix, but we never finished. It’s so ridiculous because Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein are the king and queen of ridiculous. It also makes me miss Seattle and want to move to Portland. I don’t even think it’s supposed to have that effect.
  • Sherlock – you all tell me it’s great, and I like great. Also I don’t see the hotness of Benedict Cumberbatch (which, by the way, sounds like a totally made up name), but you all tell me if I watch this show, I will.
  • TED Talks – Yes, I am letting my nerd show. I love me some TED Talks.
  • Freaks and Geeks – I have never watched it, yet our sociology teachers show it every year and scoff at me every year because they say it’s amazing. So it’s my goal to determine that.
  • The Wonder Years - This list would not be complete with out the ultimate throwback possible. This was hands down one of my favorite shows growing up, and it’s currently available on Netflix.

I would say this list will keep Alice and me pretty well-occupied for the next three months, don’t you think?  Is there anything we should add? I don’t like scary stuff or stuff that is disturbing–I save that for the books I read. Watching TV should be a little mindless fun, ya know?

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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam, but am not paid for my opinion. I am provided with Netflix and a device to watch it on. All opinions (and To Watch Lists) are my own.

Every Little Thing She Does is Magic

Dear Alice,

You are seventeen days old today, just over two weeks. Looking back that seems both fast and slow. I can’t believe two weeks has already gone by, yet it seems like you’ve just always been part of the family. Cliche, I know, but I really can’t help it.

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Even though I’ve had two babies before you, it’s somehow all new this time around. For one, you are tiny. Daddy calls you his “dainty girl.” Your birth weight was 8 lbs, 5 oz–our smallest baby. After your first pediatrician appointment at 5 days old, you were down to 7 lbs, 10oz.  We have never ever had such a small baby! In fact, you are still wearing newborn sized clothes, where your brothers grew out of that size within the first couple days of life. In fact, Eddie never fit in newborn! He went straight to 0-3 month clothes–which look like potato sacks on you!

I’m finding your temperament is somewhere between Eddie and Charlie’s. Eddie was colicky. You are SO not like that, but Charlie was the most laid back baby in the world. You’re not quite that easy. For instance, middle of the night feedings with Eddie meant spending the night on the couch with him, but with Charlie it meant 15 minutes out of bed, tops. You take your time eating, but you aren’t fussy about it. You like to take breaks, act like you’re sleeping, then get fired up to finish the bottle.

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You are also quite the cuddle bug. You remind me of Charlie in this way. You love to be tucked up under daddy or my chin in a little baby ball of snuggle.

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I’ll admit, during your entire pregnancy I held back in reservation about having a little girl. I told myself it didn’t matter if we bought “girly” things or not since as a baby, you didn’t care. We didn’t change the nursery theme (still jungle theme just like your brothers had) and I didn’t go on any buying sprees. People very generously passed on clothes and things that their little girls no longer fit into, but there wasn’t a connection to them like I made with little man clothes. And besides, babies are babies, right?

Well, yes. Logically and rationally this is true.

But once you got here, everything in my heart changed.  Or it rearranged…or it woke up. Something happened in there.

I really don’t think I fully believed you’d be a girl.

taken by our great friend, Trisha

taken by our great friend, Trisha

At your ultrasound when we found out, I laughed so hard that tears formed. I remember thanking God for such a fun surprise, but something in me didn’t completely accept it.  When they took you from my body and announced, “Yup, she’s a girl! She’s Alice!” Again I laughed. Right there on the operating table. You are REAL. A real girl. A daughter. My daughter. My Alice.

When I was pregnant with Charlie, I couldn’t imagine being able to love him as much as I loved Eddie. Yet my heart grew and surprised me with how I totally could love them with equal ferocity.  While pregnant with you, I couldn’t imagine how to love a daughter the way I love my sons. The feeling was valid because I don’t love you the way I love your brothers. I love you differently because you are my daughter and not my son.

I can’t put words to how it’s different; only my heart understands that concept.  I don’t love you more or less, just differently, but with the same passion and fire as I love your big brothers.

Everything that I have been afraid of in terms of having a daughter has faded to the back of my mind. In it’s place I see all the potential joy and good in having a daughter in my life. I have become acutely aware of my relationship with Grandma, and how I call her or email her at least once a week and how I want to share with her all the cute gifts you’ve gotten. How I was so happy to see her after each of the times I had a baby.

That will hopefully be us. We are starting that relationship right now with each snuggle and middle of the night feeding.

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You are magical, Alice.

From each snort and sigh, the way you “face pet” your soft bunny and the way your little legs go straight up when you eat, you make me so happy to be your mommy.

You make our family so happy.

Your brothers fuss over you and your daddy melts when you turn your face in towards his neck.

Our love for you goes on…

Love,
Momma

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Don’t forget Alice’s first giveaway ends tonight at midnight! Enter to win a Cloud B Glow Cuddles Bear!

Also don’t forget about the March Book Shower to celebrate March being reading month, Alice’s birth, Charlie’s 3rd birthday, and my upcoming 37th birthday on Friday!

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