Saturday, November 26, 2011


I'm thankful...

...that the weather in Orlando was aboslutely GORGEOUS this week! Anna got to wear all the cute sundresses she has that were still too big when the cold weather came at home. And she looked pretty darn cute if I do say so myself. And if tradition holds, it'll be 40 and raining tomorrow so I have to soak in the sun when I can!

...that my former college roommate and one of my BFFs, Britt, lives at the ranch and that every trip to the in-laws has a visit with her beautiful family as an added perk.

...that my in-laws are the most welcoming, easy-to-get-along-with people EVER. Sorry women who whine about how awful their in-laws are - mine rock. It's always so easy and enjoyable staying here. It's almost as relaxing as going home. Almost.

...that against my best judgement I went to the outlets with my husband on Black Friday and scored some new Banana Republic jeans (my favorite) for more than 60% off.

...that my husband's family - parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles - all love on Anna and are so sweet to her. She's one very loved baby!

...that tomorrow while a part of me wishes we were still in Florida, I'll be able to start decorating for Christmas and planning our trip to New Jersey! I love the holiday season.

...that nearly every morning this week I was able to get up, feed the baby, pass her off to a relative and TAKE A SHOWER! Not just a quick one, either. We're talking long, luxurious showers where I got to do things like shave my legs and blow-dry my hair. It was bliss. And I am one happy, clean lady :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

One Creepy Book

I've always loved reading and so I'm pretty determined to cultivate the same passion in Anna. So we read together throughout the day and she's already learning to enjoy a good story. Problem is she only has half a dozen books. One is a recordable storybook from Hallmark that her cousins made for her. It's so incredibly adorable that I can't let her look at it too often for fear the battery will die and the cuteness will be lost.

Anyway, I hate to just buy any one of the millions of children's books out there, so I've been researching a little looking for lists of the best kid's book. If I'm gonna purchase some books, they should be quality books. Most of them are pretty standard - Dr. Seuss classics, The Hungry Caterpillar, Guess How Much I Love You - but there's one that inevitably shows up on every list of great children's books that I just can't understand. Ironically it's by one of my favorite children's authors, Robert Munsch.

I love Munsch's books because of his quirky humor. In Alligator Baby a couple expecting a new baby gets lost on the way to the hospital and winds up at the zoo. Each time they return home it's with a different baby animal and they are sent back to the zoo by their older daughter to find the right baby. In Paper Bag Princess, a princess loses her castle and all her pretty clothes to a dragon who burns them up and kidnaps her fiance prince. She fashions an outfit out of a paper bag and outwits the dragon to save her prince. Then promptly breaks off their engagement when he tells her she doesn't look much like a princess in her paper bag dress.

They're cute and funny (and while I'm certainly not a feminist I appreciate the little dose of girl power in the Paper Bag Princess).

And then there's his quirkiest and by far his most famous book Love You Forever. You've probably read the story. A mom sings a lullaby to her little boy, "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be." It's a sweet sentiment. No matter how old he gets, he'll still be her baby. Any woman who's rocked her sleeping infant gets it. That feeling that you will always look at this little person as your precious baby, no matter how big they may get.

But somewhere along the way, the book crosses the line from awwww to eww!! She rocks him as an infant, as a toddler, even when she's rocking him as a 9-year-old it's still acceptable, although toeing the "ew" line. But when she creeps into his room as a teenager, you start to feel a little funny inside.

Then it crosses the "ew" line and keeps right on going until the line is nothing but a tiny speck in the distance. The son is now a grown man. And the mom is driving across town with a LADDER ON HER ROOF to sneak into his room and rock him.

Uhhhhh what??

First all, speaking strictly practically, this is impossible. When my grown man of a husband falls asleep a little too close to my side of the bed, it takes all my strength to push his full-grown self two inches out of my personal space. What kind of steroids is the woman taking? She's taking her full-grown, sleeping son out of bed and onto her lap in a rocking chair? That's amazing!

Aside from being physically impossible, this action suggests a definite psychosis in this woman. I mean really lady cut the cord! Can imagine if you were her daughter-in-law? Waking up to find your mother-in-law rocking your sleeping husband and singing lullabies? That's disturbing! You'd definitely win any "Listen to how crazy my mother-in-law is" contests among your friends.

What kind of therapy is this man going to require?

I can't help but think that Mr. Munsch is sitting in his home somewhere wondering what the heck happened. He writes quirky, funny, goofy stories. He probably wrote that one thinking "Oh this'll get a laugh" and now he collects his royalty checks as sentimental mommies read this book, go awwwww and buy a dozen copies. He's going "Wait, that was supposed to be bizarre and funny. A woman breaks into her son's home to rock him. As an adult! That's insane! Get it? No? Alright whatever just keep the checks coming."

Please moms, I beg you, cherish every moment of your child's babyhood. Look at them as adults and see your precious little baby like the dad in "Father of the Bride." But for God's sake, don't cross that line from sentimental to criminal and insane!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How to Handle Tornado Warnings

Step one: Go on, look up the satellite map for your area; watch the scary red part get closer and closer to you. Begin to panic.

Step two: Walk frantically around your house looking out each and every door and window hoping that perhaps the tornado will have a neon sign pointing it out for you.

Step three: Get all the pillows and blankets out of your spare rooms and pile them in your interior windowless bathroom. Repeat step two.

Step four: Check the satellite map again. Continue panicking.

Step five: Gather a book, a flashlight, your laptop (still displaying the weather map, of course) and a water bottle. Sit in the rocker next to your sleeping baby's crib ready to swoop her up along with your gear and run to the bathroom if necessary.

Step six: Freak out at every sound assuming it's the approaching tornado. Repeat step two.

Step seven: Watch the storm pass harmlessly over you on the satellite map. Start to feel silly.

Step eight: Read the update on that the tornado warning is cancelled. Feel even sillier.

Step nine: Clean up the big mess you made in the bathroom with all the pillows and blankets. Remake all the beds. Continue to feel even sillier.

Step ten: Move back to Jersey.

Friday, November 11, 2011


When I look at this:

And then at this:

I'm afraid the level of cuteness at the Minter/Hotalen/DeVol Christmas celebration this year will be too much to bear.

And then when I think about this...

I'm certain next year we'll all just die of cuteness overload.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Three Months

Our baby girl is three months old already! She's becoming a real little person and is so fun to be around. Except when she's not :)

Mom, I'm like totally not in the mood for this today. Seriously.

This month she's...

  • Smiling a whole lot and even laughed once!

  • Becoming very chatty! She loves to talk with me and her daddy and has a large repertoire of adorable baby sounds.

  • Wearing cloth diapers! We made the switch November 1st and so far, so good. We have a few different types we're trying out and we'll be ordering more soon to complete our stash. We'll see if things continue to go well.

  • Showing some definite personality! She gets pretty mad at me sometimes, and I can't help but think it's funny!

  • Starting to recognize and prefer us over strangers. I know that will get frustrating in a few months when she's refusing to be held by anyone but me, but right now it's really sweet.

  • Travelling like a champ! We took her to our homecoming at Toccoa which was less than successful (cranky baby = cranky mommy; cranky baby + cranky mommy = cranky daddy), but last weekend we made the 5-hour drive to Tallahassee to see her Uncle Aron and Aunt Julie and she did great!

  • Sleeping! Yay for long stretches at night! She typically goes to bed very easily around 9:30 and wakes up once during the night to eat.

  • Loving her hands! She hasn't started watching them as I'm told some babies do, but she's definitely aware that she can grab things. She really enjoys her play gym now and will grab onto the toys hanging above her. She also loves to hang onto my hair and our shirts when we're holding her. She still likes her paci but in a pinch her fist will do.

  • She gets cuter every single day and we are having so much fun watching her grow!