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October 25, 2012

Freak Flags

I started watching a new show this week, new this season...The New Normal. While the central storyline is incredibly touching and makes me weep hormonal tears throughout each episode, I find myself mostly drawn to the character of Shania, the young daughter of surrogate mom Goldie. She is a quirky kid with an old soul, and a strange confidence about herself. I am simply mesmerized by her. And I love her foliage leaf pretend wedding dress.

I spent a lot of my youth wanting to fit in. I didn't wear clothes from stores that most kids did, like The Limited or Abercrombie, but I tried to dress cool. By the time I was old enough to understand that some girls were considered cooler than others, around 5th grade, I wanted to be one of them. I never understood how these girls were considered cooler, but whatever they had, I wanted it. What was I missing? I got fake Adidas sneakers from Payless. Remember the black ones with the three stripes up the side? Everyone in my school had them (so it seemed). My sneakers had four stripes up the side. I took a pair of scissors to that fourth stripe in hopes that no one would notice the mark it left on my shoes once it was gone.

I also didn't have an LL Bean backpack with my initials on it. Those were so expensive! I found one at a yard sale one summer and just like my Fauxdidas sneakers, I took scissors to the embroidered initials on that backpack. I took it a step further and used White Out to try to paint my own initials on. I really tried.

I quit softball in 6th grade to try out for cheerleading, which I excelled at. I wasn't skinny, but I was strong and had a powerful voice. My parents supported me because they always supported me when I wanted to try something, no matter how fleeting it was in my life. My first season of cheerleading was so much fun, I couldn't wait to move up to the 7th & 8th grade squad. That is where I learned what I was missing in order to be one of the cool girls.

I was missing a mean streak.

I spent most of the season being taunted and bullied by the girls on the squad. It was mostly the 8th grade girls, but I was way outside my comfort zone. Their meanness extended to the halls of school, and I not only dreaded cheerleading practice and football games, but walking the halls of the school.  I was called 'fat', 'ugly', and worst of all, I was 'not cool'. No one would ever look at me and think "I want to be like her". I received phone calls on Friday nights from slumber parties I wasn't invited to, reminding me that I was a loser, to the sound of girlish cackles and taunts in the background.

I don't remember if I stuck out that cheerleading season or if I quit (I've tried to push that season of my life from my memory), but I do know that I decided to go back to softball and not look back. I played on all star teams that played at tournaments all summer and I had the time of my life with those girls playing ball and eating Frosties at Wendy's all over the South Shore. We won trophies and tournaments and cheered each other on, even when we struck out or missed that fly ball that lost us the game. We were a team.

I also immersed myself in theater and music, where I started to really find myself. I found freedom in being able to express myself and fly my freak flag, and gradually learned that although many people may not "get" me, or "want to be like me", that was ok. All I had to be was true to myself. No one would ever be a better me than me. And I did my best to never make anyone feel like they weren't good enough, just as they were. I surrounded myself with people who built me up, instead of loving to tear me down. I became confident. I became strong.

I am terrified of sending Lily to school. I know how scary and crushing it can be, now more than ever. I also know how amazing those years can be if you are brought up to be tough, and to be your own person. Anyone can walk around and be mean to someone to feel better about themselves, but it takes a lot more guts to be who you are, and to treat others with respect. I'm glad my parents were there for me, and I promise to be there for my girl if she ever comes home in tears, or wants to be a cheerleader or a ballerina or a slam poet or a basketball star.

I'm glad this little character is on tv. And I'm glad she's on a show that's portraying some really poignant issues. It would be easy to pass her off as just another quirky character, but she's more than that. She's smart. She's confident. She's wise. She's curious and whimsical and has a heart of gold. She's everything I hope my girl grows up to be. And if Lily has a freak flag, I hope she flies it high and proud. No matter what, she's my girl and she rocks.

October 24, 2012

My Baby is a Genius

I'm not saying she's the smartest baby ever, but there's no denying the resemblance here. It just makes you wonder what that squishy face is going to grow up to be.


October 19, 2012

Lily's Room

I've been wanting to share Lily's room for a while now! We did a lot of planning to make it a happy space for our little bean. The main inspiration was "adventurous, creative, and imaginative". I wanted it to be a place that was colorful, cheerful and bright - not just a baby's room, but a child's room, where she can play and read and pretend and dream. I'm really happy with how it turned out!

A Pinterest inspired wall. I will note that Lily doesn't sleep in this crib full of stuffed animals and blankets, I just put her in there for a couple pictures. No need to call the safety police!
I love this hot air balloon hairbow holder! It was a gift from my friend Katie, locally made and sold at a gift shop in Rhode Island.
Most of the teddy bears and stuffed animals were my own as a kid. The two on the top shelf come from my great-grandparents' house in Maine, where my great-gram collected thousands of teddy bears. They are classic Pooh Bear and Paddington. 
 
We collected favorite children's books throughout my pregnancy, as well as some great hand-me-downs from Lily's cousins.
"The Grampa Chair". I thought about re-upholstering this chaise to a light neutral color, but just ran out of time, energy and motivation. This chair has been in my family for many years and used to be my grampa's (who Lil is named for) napping chair. 
This rocking horse was ours when we were little. It's a bit worn down from years and years of horsey rides and love!
 
I love the prints hanging over "Pooh Corner", our changing area. They are by artist James Hance, and he blends children's tv and literature characters and stories with pop culture and geekery. The lefthand print is from his book "Wookie the Chew", and the righthand print is called "The Kessel Run", blending Calvin and Hobbes with Star Wars.
 The quilt on top of the crib sheet is my baby quilt that my mom made. The blue giraffe stuffie was made with love for Lily by our friend Lauren, and Green Lantern was a sweet gift from her Uncle Tek.

Wall letters and hot air balloon mobile: Restoration Hardware
Rug: Ikea
Bird lamp: Homegoods
Bookshelf: Target
Prints above changing table: James Hance
Je t'aime print: Society6
Prints above bookshelf: Trafalgar Square on Etsy
Typography posters: Raw Art Letterpress on Etsy
Crib skirt, wall dots, and quilt: me!

October 17, 2012

Pumpkin







We had a great day yesterday driving up to Bethel, CT. It's a quiet little town with an awesome used bookstore, lots of little shops, and a sweet little orchard. Blue Jay Orchard had a rough season for apples, so sadly we did not get to go apple picking, but we had some fun in the pumpkin patch with our little pumpkin, and made our way home with some delicious apple cider and candy corn. It was a perfect fall day and I'm so glad we went on this little trip. I think it counted as Lily's first real outing away from home, too!

What fun stuff have you been doing to celebrate the season?

October 16, 2012

Lily :: One Month

The days are long but the months and years are short.

If there's anything true in this world, it's that advice my boss gave me before I had you. Our days are long and sweet, but I cannot believe it has already been a month since you turned my world upside down.

Nicknames: Munchkin, Sweetums, Lilycakes, Lovey, Little Miss

You love to sleep with your arms over your head. Then you stretch your legs out and you look so long. Then you snuggle up on mine or your daddy's chest and you look so tiny. 

You love to eat. You make so many happy sounds, you smile, and sometimes you get so excited to eat, you kind of forget to eat. And then you get pissed off.

I am so glad breastfeeding is working out. I know it's my mommy ego talking, but I am so happy that I can feed you, and that you're growing and thriving.

You and Loki are slowly getting used to each other. One of my favorite times during the day is first thing in the morning when we wake up. I nurse you, and Daddy let's Loki into our room. He jumps up on the bed and snuggles in, and it's such a nice little family time.

When you're awake, I sing to you and show you different things around the apartment. You've had some playtime on your activity mat, which you seem to like. You're not a fan of tummy time on your mat yet, but you are lifting your head and can turn it from side to side. We also started reading your infant books together, and you stare at the colorful pictures.

You will grip our fingers nice and tightly. Sometimes you fall asleep at night in your bassinet next to me holding my finger. It's the sweetest damn thing.

Songs we sing: You Are My Sunshine, Lullaby of Broadway, Bushel and a Peck. Your daddy and I also make up songs for you, anything that quiets the fuss and seems to make you happy.

Thank goodness for modern technology! We have FaceTimed with Nana, your aunts, uncle and cousins, and grandparents. It's so nice that even though we can't see them all in person very often, we can still "see" each other.

You are going to be too big for your newborn clothes this week. It breaks my heart.

I am sad that a month has already passed, but I am so excited for the holidays coming up in the next few weeks, and getting to introduce you to more of our family. It's going to be fun!

You are changing quickly, and it amazes me. We love you so much, and you've changed our lives so much in such a short time. I am so proud to be your mama, watching you grow and learn every day. I can't wait to see what comes next.   

October 14, 2012

Bathtime


Bathtime is the best. She fusses a little bit when we start, but once she feels the warm water, she calms down, stretches out her arms and legs, and coos. I love soaping up her little head with baby wash, and smelling her fresh, clean skin once she's snuggled into her towel drying off.

And of course, it helps to wind down for the night and settle into sweet dreams.  

October 12, 2012

Pretty Amazing



Today I am thanking my lucky stars for every day in the past 10 years that we have been together. It's been a long road, and look where it has brought us. I can't wait to discover where we're going. He's been the best husband a woman could ask for, and now I have the joy of watching him be a daddy. It's pretty amazing.