Wednesday, December 20, 2006

In Defense of the Big Purple Guy

My mom taught me to stand up for my friends on the playground if someone was picking on them and I feel like I am long overdue in defending Barney. Some of you have heard my Barney defense, but I now want to "publicly" stand up for my dear purple friend. I know, I know EVERYONE hates Barney. But what I can't figure out is WHY?

Now, I have to say that Aaron started out as a Barney-hater. He SWORE that his children would never watch it (he's such a dictator :)) I personally developed a soft spot for Barney when Tyler was young. He even made a guest appearance at Tyler's third birthday party!

I DVR Barney and Sesame Street -- not so I can plop Grace in front of them all day, but so there's always something on hand that's appropriate for her to watch if I need to take a shower or run a load of laundry downstairs or some other short little task. After being exposed to both Sesame Street and Barney (and listening to my heartfelt commentary), Aaron has now embraced Barney. Ok, he's not singing the theme song at the end, but he admits I have some valid points (which is HIGHLY unusual in our household...LOL)

Aaron and I grew up watching Sesame Street and it seems to be the most "socially accepted" children's show around, so it just seemed natural that we expose Grace to it. We are now re-thinking that decision. Let's analyze the characters a little:

Big Bird - Sure, he LOOKS friendly enough, but if you actually pay attention, that guy (he is a guy right?) is one whiny bird. Wah, wah, wah ALL the time.

Oscar - Need I state the obvious? Who wants their kid to think is ok to complain and be a grump all the time?

Cookie Monster -- ok, I'll admit.. I want to hug him and share cookies with him BUT "Me want a cookie" doesn't teach very good grammar. I know some health nuts also argue that Cookie Monster is responsible for childhood obesity, but I think that's taking things a little far. Carrot Monster just wouldn't be the same.

Speaking of grammar...

The Count -- I never noticed this growing up, but he cannot say the number "Seven." Instead he says "Selwin." What the heck? And when he counts higher he says "Selwinteen." If you've never noticed, pay attention next time.

Elmo - OK - I know EVERYONE loves Elmo. But how can you argue that he is any less annoying than Barney? With the squeaky voice and annoying use of the third-person ("Elmo wants to do this") this little furry guy can drive a parent insane in no time flat. And Elmo's World? You have to be kidding me. That flying computer that screams "Elmo's got mail, Elmo's got mail...over and over and over and over and over." No wonder "Elmo" is one of the first recognizable words spoken by many children. Is that a good thing? I think not. And I can't mention Elmo's World without mentioning Mr. Noodle. There are many words I could use to describe this guy, but I'm just going to settle on "creepy." I can't help but think that one day we may just see Mr. Noodle talking to Chris Hansen on Dateline.

Now, I will say that if all of the characters above were axed and Sesame Street became the Burt and Ernie show, I'd be more likely to let my children watch it. Yes, Burt is a little grumpy and eccentric and Ernie is a little goofy, but they speak correct Engligh and sing cute songs. I'll let them slide.

Having analyzed the competition, I want to explain why Barney is NOT a bad guy.

  • He always uses good grammar. Some may say his voice is annoying, but I find it sweet and comforting.

  • He is a fun guy. You NEVER, EVER hear Barney complain. Sure, he probably got stuck in traffic on the way to work and has to endure all kinds of harassment in daily life, but he leaves it all off-camera. My child sees a positive, happy, purple role model. Yeah, he's different, but he doesn't care. He sings great, upbeat song and hey, he can even dance!

  • He teaches good lessons. Barney doesn't just exist for entertainment. He always has a good message to share with chilren. He teaches children that they are special AND that they should treat others with kindness. I think if more people paid attention to what Barney has to say, the world really could be a better place.
I know the popular stance is to hate Barney, but c'mon he's a GOOD guy -- love him. He loves you (and he'll tell you every single day if you just embrace him! :)

And now, I'll close this entry with a great big hug and a kiss from me to you!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

For my little sunbeam on her first birthday

Dear Gracie Girl,

As soon as I found out I was pregnant with you, Daddy and I started calling you "sunbeam." In the car on the way to work every morning, I would sing the Sunbeam song to you and when you were big enough to be noticeable, I could feel you dancing as I sang.

Since you entered the world, you have lived up to your nickname and then some. Throughout the months, your smile has been contagious to those around you. You force strangers out of their daydreaming and into your happy little world and you have totally captivated those of us closest to you. You love life and everything and everyone in it. You haven't started walking yet because when you get on your feet, you dance (and it's kind of hard to balance that way!) :)

As I expected before you were born, you have wrapped your daddy tightly around your little finger. The two of you have a special bond and it warms mommy's heart to see you together. Your brother is smitten with you too. He is 11 and busy with all kinds of things, but he always has time to make you giggle. And you adore your "Ty Ty" as well.

Two days ago, I learned that you will be my only daughter. My sweet girl, you are all I could have ever hoped for in a daughter. You light up my life. In just a year with you I have learned that a smile really can change someone's day for the better and when in doubt, laughter always works. :) I can never put into words just how much sunshine you spread on all those around you, especially me. Thank you for making me a better person. I love you more than words can express. Happy Birthday!


Thursday, November 09, 2006


We had our big ultrasound today and I am here to claim my braggin' rites. If you'll scroll down several posts you will see that very early on I predicted this baby to be a boy and today it was confirmed. He is a very active baby who is apparently PROUD to be a boy because he let us know the second the tech put the wand on my tummy. Everything looked great! He is measuring 6 days ahead, but given our history, that's no surprise. My blood pressure was GREAT and I definitely do not have placenta previa this time. YAY!! It was a great appointment all around and we are all as excited as can be!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

To my sweet son on his 11th Birthday

note: this entry was actually written on Tyler's birthday (10/20), but due to technical difficulties the post is being uploaded on 10/21.

Dear Tyler,
Wow, I cannot believe it has been 11 years since the first time you were laid in my arms. I knew from the minute I looked into your eyes that you were going to be a special young man and you have delivered on that in so many ways. Even from the early days, you've had drive and determination that has been noticed by all around you and I can't wait to see where these qualities take you in the future. I remember watching you in your first couple of years as you took in all of the information you needed to reach a new milestone, figured out your "gameplan," then just did it. As you grew older and entered school you took your determination with you and developed and enthusiasm for learning that has always made me particularly proud.

You have such a sweet spirit and you truly care about people. Those are such important qualities to have. They are ones that are often overlooked in "the real world," but carry them with you everywhere you go for they will set you apart and make you special.

I have been particularly touched as I've watched you grow to adore your baby sister in the past year. You are her hero and before long you will be the hero of
two young siblings. Being someone's hero is never an easy task, but I know without a doubt that you will live up to the title with ease.

I wish you a very happy birthday, my sweet son and look forward to the new adventures we will face in the next year.

I love you with all my heart,

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Ever have one of those days that when it's over you wonder how you ever got it all done? Today was one of those days and while I am totally exhausted, for some reason I can't seem to go to sleep, so I thought I'd write it all down to decompress. There were a few things I needed to pick up at the mall and Tyler had a soccer game at noon (he had to be there at 11:30) so we got to the mall right when it opened at 10 am. We dashed around and picked up what we needed and sprinted back to the car to make it to the game.

The game was exciting! Although we lost 3-0, Ty's team played really, really well. They were playing the best team in the league and really gave it a good effort, so it was a "good loss." When the game was over, Aaron decided he wanted to go to Secca Santa (description: Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art: Shop your favorite boutiques and see the new stores that make up this shopping extravaganza. From gourmet foods to jewelry and toys to garden gifts, you will find something for everyone on your shopping list—and maybe a little something for yourself) to see the booth of a friend of ours. They make really cool wooden signs with cute sayings on them and he was duly impressed. Our time there was limited because Grace had a photo shoot at 3pm...

Yep, I said photo shoot, but before you categorize me as a stage mom, let me explain...ha! A friend of ours owns Maya Wrap (a baby wrap and sling company) and another friend of ours is helping with some marketing and as part of that is overseeing the re-design of the website. So Grace and about 20 other babies were recruited to be "slung" for an hour or so. As can be expected when coordinating baby photography, things were running a little behind. Being the laid back little sunbeam that she is, Grace took it all in stride and happily played on the swings and slides until it was her turn. The only small hitch was that Tyler had a birthday party to be at at 5 pm. So he and I left Aaron and Grace at the park and off we went.

When we arrived at the party at 5:10 (thinking we were late), we found out that it actually started at 5:30 (oh well, my first time being early all day!) Luckily, his friend Jay's mom was fine with getting started a tad early. After a quick conversation with her, I hopped back into the car and hurried off to pick up Aaron and Grace. When I arrived at the park, Grace was done with her photo shoot and was still as happy as could be. Aaron and I, on the other hand, were hungry and exhausted. Neither of us had the energy to cook so we went out to eat. When we got home at a little after 7, Grace went right to sleep and Aaron followed suit an hour or so later.

And here I am, it is almost 10:30 and I'M still awake. But fortunately, reliving the day has made me extremely tired, so I'm off to bed. Nighty night!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Confessions of a Shopaholic

If you've ever read the aforementioned book by Sophie Kinsella and laughed hysterically because you could "see" a little of yourself in the main character, you will *get* this post. If you totally relate to this post and have never read the book, you should read it. I guarantee you will laugh out loud. If you fall into neither of these categories, please bear with me. We all have our quirks and tolerance is a great attribute to possess.

Today's adventure all started last Saturday night. We got together with some friends from BabyZone while we were in Atlanta and my friend Mandy and her daughter, Macie were wearing matching black gauchos. What an adorable sight they were, matching mommy and daughter. Since I also happened to be wearing black gauchos, I had to know where she got them so Grace and I could attend some outing, somewhere in matching attire as well. She told me she got them at Old Navy. (This was reason #1 for me to make a trip to the mall, one more reason and I'm on it!)

Today at Mother's Morning Out, we all went outside to play. It was still a little cool outside and one of the teachers mentioned to me that it was going to be 40 degrees in the morning later this week. "Little Grace is going to need a jacket," she said. (**DING DING DING: Reason #2, after a nap, Grace and I are heading to the mall!)

As we walked into Old Navy, a huge, glaring sign greeted us: Baby Sale - 25% Off! Oh, what was it Aaron said to do in these situations? Was it "Get in there and take advantage of that sale?" Or maybe it was "turn the opposite direction and run as fast as you can?" Knowing how much he likes to save money and knowing that walking away from a sale is like leaving money on the table, I rationalize that surely he wanted me to check it out. Once inside, I quickly found the gauchos I was looking for, but alas, Grace didn't have a THING to wear with them. Lucky for me, there was a SALE going on. I quickly found TWO tops to go with (a girl can't wear the same outfit all the time!) Then there was reason #2 for our trip, the jacket. I found a darling denim one and they had the cutest little jeans to match. How could I pass them up? On the way out, I noticed they had socks on sale 10 pair for $10. Babies can never have enough socks, right? hint: Grace now does! As the cashier completed our transaction, she handed me a coupon. Now, I've gotten these many times and they are always for some date in the future for which I forget that I have the coupon. But this time the coupon was good TODAY. And it was for 15% off of your purchase at any Gap Store. You guessed it, Baby Gap included! Now, even as a self-proclaimed shopaholic, I seldom ever buy Grace anything at Baby Gap because even I can't justify it, but you know the whole sale and money left on the table philosophy, so off we go!

As I entered Baby Gap, I started to worry that my Scarlet Letter ("S" for shopaholic of course) was showing as salesperson after salesperson bounded over to tell me about the great sales that were going on. Mind you, I had the 15% off coupon in my pocket to make these great sales even better. There were a few items that I couldn't resist and all in all, I really did get a great deal on my purchases.

So now Miss Grace is set. She has gauchos to match mommy's AND a new jacket (or 2!) :) And I, well I'm still feeling good about the deals, but do recognize that I probably went a little overboard. But hey, little girls are fun to buy for....ESPECIALLY for shopaholics!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Mother's Morning Out (well, sort of)

For several reasons, including but not limited to:

  • Grace having an opportunity for some more structured play time

  • Grace learning to interact with other children (which will be a very important skill for her in another 6 or 7 months), and
  • Mommy having a few hours a week to catch up on some work, clean the house, or heck, maybe just take a nap,
We decided to enroll her in the Mother's Morning Out program at the preschool where my mom teaches. It is a two day a week (three hours each day) class. She's only 10 months old and my plan is to go with her for the first couple of months until she really gets used to it (hence the "sort of" in the title of the post). Today was orientation, also known as "THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL." Today Grace and I had the opportunity to see what we are getting ourselves into.

Understand, on a typical day, Grace and I go...well nowhere other than taking Tyler to school. It figures that on the day we had somewhere to be in the morning, she decided to sleep in and when she DID wake up, her hair was an uncontrollable mess. No time to sweat the small stuff, we dashed out the door and on our way to our big day! Grace was all smiles as we walked into the building and I was doing great until I was handed a "Parent's Survival Kit." "How cute!" I thought as I looked inside. "What's that?...Kleenex?...Oh No!" Never ever tell a pregnant woman she is SUPPOSED to cry! *choke* Quickly I reminded myself that I'm staying with her. When I regained my composure, it was time for me to leave the room for parent's orientation. After watching two other parents make a big deal over leaving the room and observing the meltdown that followed from their children, I decided not to make a scene and to quietly leave (sneak out of) the room. During the 30-minute orientation, Grace was a good little girl. Because the room I was in was right across the hall from her, I could hear her start to cry at near the end of the meeting. When I got back into the room I realized that she had needed a diaper change and her teacher was changing it when I returned. I quietly gave Grace a "High 5" when the teacher wasn't looking for letting someone else take care of one. My pregnant spidey sense of smell has made changing diapers much harder for me to bear than normal and I am more than happy to share that duty with whomever will help!

All in all, I think it is going to be great. Grace is, by far, the smallest kid in the class. But make no mistake, she is one tough cookie! I have no doubt that she'll be able to hold her own (especially with ME sitting with her!) Maybe one day I'll leave her there on her own, but hey, they're letting ME go for free, so I'm in no rush! :)

Monday, September 04, 2006

It's a ???

Let's face it, 9-months is a long time to wait for an event as momentous as the arrival of a new baby. In today's "I want information and I want it NOW" world, the wait to find out the gender of the baby (whether it be 20-weeks for a gender ultrasound or the whole 40-weeks for the birthday surprise) MUST be filled with some kind of speculation to help pass the time.

So far, I have played the gender guessing game with both of my children. And so far, I have been 100% wrong, but I'm not about to stop guessing now!! Now, for those who haven't a clue what they might be carrying, there are many different "resources" available to help formulate a guess. First of all, there are the "mature" ladies in the grocery store. Solicited or not, these wise ladies are likely to give you an opinion based on things like the width of your nose, how you're carrying the baby, the size of your rear-end, etc. Be prepared though, if you choose this route, to be poked, prodded, and have your shirt lifted so a good view of your backside can be obtained. Also be prepared for questions about intimate things including the kind of underwear your husband wears. While these things may seem intrusive, they are all important pieces of the puzzle used to figure out the gender mystery. Based on my experience, roughly half of these ladies are able to correctly predict the baby's gender.

Should the "in person" resources seem too daunting, never fear! It is possible to NEVER leave your home and obtain reliable information about whether you are carrying a lad or lass right over the internet! Everyone who has ever been pregnant had heard of the chinese lunar calendar method of gender prediction. It plugs the mother's age at conception (in lunar years) and the month of conception into a formula and tells you what you are having. Plain and simple. So far, I have had two children and the chinese lunar calendar has a 50% success rate with them. Another lesser-known source is This guy collects similar information, but has a different formula because the answers are not always the same. This method predicted my first two children would be girls. I have one boy, one girl,, look at that...50% correct.

And let's not forget the gender mentor test. This is the one where you send them a blood sample and they email you the gender. I'm not sure what the accuracy rate of this one is, but I have known people for whom it has been wrong. At $275 a pop, I think I'll pass on this one. Besides, if I knew the gender this early, what would I do for the rest of the pregnancy?

The bottom line is, ALL of these methods are what are known in the marketing research world as "SWAGS" (sophisticated, wild %&$ guesses). Anybody can make a guess and have a pretty darn good chance of being right (well at least as good as the chance of being wrong). Though my "gut" method of predicting has yet to be right, it is based on a much smaller sample size than many of the other "sources" out there.

I know it's early in the game, but I am ready to make a guess. In 3 months or so, we'll see if I've broken my wrong streak or not. For the record, here's what the other sources have to say....

The old wives (about 60% boy, 40% girl)
Chinese lunar calendar (GIRL) (BOY)

And my guess (based really on nothing other than gut feeling) is...."It's a boy!" This doesn't mean I want a boy or don't want a boy. I want a healthy baby and gender is totally unimportant to me (though a fun thing to speculate about during the boring first half of pregnancy). This is just based on my (possibly out of order) gut feeling. Hey, regardless of my history, I've got a 50% chance of being right! :)


Friday, September 01, 2006

Aaron got a new job!

With the threat if impending layoffs in the air, he just happened to fall into an opportunity that we think is perfect for him! He has been working as an engineer for about five and a half years and he was doing an hour and a half (each way) commute two to three times a week. The prospects for advancement were also looking bleak so he had actually started looking for job opportunities outside of his company. We were both praying frequently about what he should do, where we should live, etc. Because of our situation with Tyler, I could never get comfortable with moving out of the area, but the chances of something turning up locally seemed to be slim to none.

Then out of the blue, his manager mentioned a new program they are implementing that he thought Aaron would be a good candidate for. It was a technical sales support position that included a work from home arrangement. In a whirlwind 3 days or so, Aaron applied, interviewed, was offered the position and accepted. We are excited about the potential!

Now we have quickly realized that with all of our bedrooms full, no extra "living" rooms, both of us working from home, and a new baby on the way, we are officially out of space. So the preparations have begun to put our house on the market. We got lots of "fixer ups" to do, so we're hoping to leisurely take care of those and put it on the market in early 2007. Let the fun begin!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Ooops, we did it again!

The week of my 35th birthday, I just wasn't feeling quite myself. Tireder than normal, pukier than normal, I just felt like something was different in my world. So the day after I turned 35 I took a pregnancy test, and low and behold...a BFP (big fat positive for anyone unfamiliar with the terminology). With a 9-month old into everything, it was a bit of a surprise, but we are all thrilled with this blessing and are looking forward to another arrival joining our family!

Last week, at 7 weeks, 1 day, I had an ultrasound just to make sure my dates were correct. I was still nursing Grace when I got pregnant and wasn't certain about everything, but the little bean was measuring right on and I was able to see and hear the heartbeat. A healthy and strong 158 beats per minute. Due date is early April, 2007.

While pregnant with Grace, I gained 58 pounds and had a whole host of complications. So this time, I met with a nutritionist early on. Only a week or two after finding out I was pregnant, I was already using it as an excuse to eat whatever I wanted. Luckily, my last pregnancy is still fresh in my mind and I really, really want to be healthier this time (and have less weight to lose on the back end), so I'm on a "diet." It's not so much a calorie restriction diet (though I know that I don't need to consume enough calories for two grown people), it's more of a guideline concerning the kinds of things I eat. So far it's working great. The weight gain has stopped (I should only gain 0-3 lbs in the first trimester and I had already gained 4 BEFORE meeting with the nutritionist) and I am feeling satisfied. My blood pressure readings have also been great at home and I am determined to BEAT the white coat syndrome this time and get good readings at the doctor's office!

Argh -- I'm blogging illiterate

So, I actually started this blog several months ago, got busy and when I tried to get back in tonight, I couldn't for the life of me remember how to sign back in. Luckily I was able to find my old blog online and copied the posts I'd already made (all TWO of them). So anyway, the plan is to keep this one running. We shall see!

Oh, Look at her cute little shoes!

OK, I have a 10-year old son. When he was a baby, I never even thought about putting shoes on him until he was walking. Why bother? I had heard everyone talk about how baby shoes never stayed on. He couldn't even keep socks on and once he outgrew the little sleepers with feet, I often got evil looks from strangers for having my child outside in January with bare feet (c'mon people, he wasn't playing in the snow or anything!)

However, when I was pregnant with Grace, a guy I worked with talked often about Robeez, these cute little leather moccasins his daughter was wearing. At first I thought it sounded a little silly, but I decided to research these little shoes to see what all the fuss was about.

After reading many rave reviews, I went to ebay and made two bids, hoping that I could win one pair and check these little shoes out. They are available in a few boutiques and at Stride Rite in my area, but the styles are limited and I am picky. Much to my surprise (and Aaron's dismay), I won both pairs. The shoes arrived and boy were they cute!! I carried them around for awhile just to show people what my future baby would be wearing.

Then came baby...

Grace was born large, but with tiny feet. However, when she was just about a week old, I pulled the Robeez out because they matched one of the darling, girly outfits I had for her. "These will never stay on those little feet," I thought. But they did! I have attached a picture of Robeez in case you've never seen them, but they are almost like "leather socks." They have elastic around the ankle that is magically tight enough to keep the shoes on, but not so tight that it is painful to baby. Grace now wears them all the time and the only time she seems to notice they are there is when she goes to chew on her toes and can't get to them. Fortunately, she thinks the Robeez are quite tasty too.

One drawback to these cute little shoes...they are pretty pricey. At $26 a pop, a mommy could go broke trying to match all the outfits. So, we buy a couple of pair of shoes and buy all the outfits to match the shoes...just kidding! :) You can get the less popular styles on ebay for a little less, but when you start bidding on the popular styles you could end up paying even more for them when you factor in the exorbinant shipping some sellers charge. My favorite place to buy them is They charge no tax or shipping and they send out a 10% off coupon with your first purchase. I have had great experiences with them and the Robeez arrive quickly and safely packaged. A word of warning about the knock-offs...I have seen them at Target and have taken them out of the package and touched them. The "leather" (if it is real leather) is not the same. Robeez are durable and soft leather with suede bottoms. The imposters feel more like pleather. I personally haven't found any girls styles available that were as cute as Robeez, but that could just be the selection in my local store. While some might think it silly to spend money on these baby shoes, I like them and hey, I earn my own money and when the bills are paid, I will spend it how I want to (after discussing with hubby of course), so no passing judgement please! :)

Oh, and just to save you a little embarassment, the correct pronunciation is Rob-eez, not Row-beez. I only know this because the woman who created them was on Yummy Mummy one day. She named them after her son.

Blog, blog, blog. It's all I ever hear these days...

I must admit, all the press has piqued my interest and I thought it was time to give it a shot. I often have random thoughts in my head that need a place to shine, so I guess this will be it.

My life these days consists of mommying an almost 10 month old (Grace), mothering a 10 year old (Tyler), being a good wife to Aaron, working (I do contract work from home), and church. I am busy, but aren't we all?

For work, I am a contractor for marketing research companies. Years and years of researching new products has made me quite a keen consumer. I am always looking for hip new stuff and I suspect that my blog will consist of reviews of the things that are hot topics in our household. Being the mother of a young baby, I am a target for many neat, new baby products and some of them just need to be discussed. In my blog I will attempt to weave these reviews into boring musings of everyday life in our house.

To kick this thing off, let me tell you a little about who lives here:

Melissa - That's me. I am 35, wife of Aaron, mother of two beauties. I met my husband Aaron online (gasp!) 4 years ago. We have been married almost three years and have a 10-month old daughter together.

Aaron - He's the love of my life. I know it sounds sappy and trite, but he really is my superman. He's a loyal friend, great daddy, terrific cook, oh and he keeps the yard looking nice! :)

Tyler - Tyler is my 10-year old son from a previous marriage. He is smart, athletic, and a really good kid, especially considering he's entered his "tween" years. Tyler plays soccer and basketball is is going to give baseball a shot next year. He stays with his dad half of the time and with us half of the time. We look forward to his weeks with us and things are really only "complete" when we are all here.

Grace - Our little "Gracie Girl" is our newest addition. She was born in November 2005, a month early, weighing in at about 8.5 lbs. She has been pure sunshine since she arrived. Oh yeah, she has her moments where she cries (as do all babies), but for the most part this little girl is happy all the time. She loves her mommy and daddy and is particularly fond of her big brother.

Tex and Caroline - These two are the canine members of our family. Tex is a four year old yellow lab and Caroline is a 3 year old Heinz 57.

Now that the intros are done, I can't wait to get started...

Tomorrow! :)