Father’s day is this Sunday! What are you all planning to do?
1. Swiss Army Knife. My dad got me one of these a while ago (my dad wished I was a boy, still does) and they’re incredibly useful and classic.
2. Solar Powered Radio. For when dad’s working or relaxing outside.
3. Wall-Mounted Bottle Opener. It’s just so stylish. Why not?
4. Thermos. I’ve been obsessed with thermoses lately. I think they’re so cute, and so Fred Flintstone-y.
5. Wall Clock. Aidan’s been eyeing this for a while. I love it too.
6. Coffee Mill. For the coffee loving dad who can’t talk before he’s had his coffee.
7. Darth Vader and Son Book. Have you seen this book? It’s AMAZING.
8. Craftsman Toolbox. These have a lifetime guarantee. What dad doesn’t enjoy organizing his tools?
9. Canon Rebel Digital SLR Camera. Pretend it’s for dad, but we really know, it really is for you.
or the old standby, a card, a drawing, and a photograph in a frame is always pretty awesome.
More gift guides for guys here.
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I’m trying to put aside my
hatred jealousy for you mommies that can still wear a two piece. I probably can, but I don’t really feel confident enough for it. Oh babies, it’s a good thing they’re cute! These are some that I thought were pretty cute and mommy friendly.
1. Old Navy.
2. Nanette Lepore.
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How many of you have ever wondered if you’re the only one who sometimes hates your spouse?
And, yes, I’m using the word hate here (a very strong word indeed) because hate is, after all, the flip side of love — one cannot exist without the other.
It took me a very long time to accept this ugly truth, but I am absolutely the kind of person who has to hate my husband a little bit in order to love him.
Like when he leaves coffee stains on our white porcelain sink.
Or when I ask him to help me with one of the 1,356 things I have to do before our son’s birthday party, and he asks me “How long is this going to take?”
Sometimes I truly despise my beloved.
Now I’m certainly no expert on marriage — we did, after all, just celebrate our five year wedding anniversary only last month — but I have picked up a few scraps of wisdom in the 8 years that I’ve known/loved my husband and I want to share some of that here.
The first, and most important, thing that I’d like to shout from the blogging rooftops is this: it’s okay to fight.
In fact, I’m just going to say it: it’s okay to NOT fight fair!!
Many years ago, when my husband was still a stranger and our son was still a baby, we fought so much that I truly could not see the other side, no matter how hard I tried. I couldn’t see how we were going to make it another year together, let alone a lifetime.
And our fights — they were brutal. They were middle-of-the-night screaming matches, followed by I-can’t-do-this-anymore tears as the sun came up. And all that make-up sex that everyone said was supposed to “make up” for the agony of fighting? That never happened.
In the middle of these dark days, I would often turn to my in-laws for advice — I was very close to them and I wanted to better understand my husband and the things that made him tick. Who better to go to than the source of my husband’s upbringing and values?
My husband’s parents were always kind, always empathetic, and always helpful in their way. But the one thing that stuck with me the most was when my father-in-law would say “We’ve never fought.” He wore this proclamation like a badge of honor and he would emphasize his point repeatedly, much to my despair. They never fought. No late-night screaming, no packing up a bag and threatening to never come back. Forty years into their marriage, and they never, ever, fought.
I tormented myself about this for years — what was wrong with my marriage? Why were we always fighting? Was this the glaring red flag that we refused to accept? Happy couples don’t fight, and couples destined for divorce did? What was the goddamn, mother-effing recipe for success?!?!
I used to think the recipe for a successful marriage was what my in-laws had and that unless we were like them (and we never could be) then we were destined to fail. I accepted this pre-determined fate, and in my mind I settled in, waiting for the moment when it would all be over. I was resigned.
This was my mentality up until the day my husband’s father announced he was moving across the country – without my mother-in-law. Their perfect lives unraveled rather quickly, and the details behind that are not part of this story nor is it my place to tell them, but the story that is mine is that their messy breakup changed everything in my own relationship.
First: it almost destroyed my marriage.
Then: it rebuilt it, stronger than ever.
Because, for the first time ever, my marriage stopped being a complete failure. For the first time ever, I stopped holding us up to an impossible standard, and simply accepted our union for exactly what it was — sometimes great, sometimes ugly, full of equal parts irritation and admiration. Once it became okay to hate my husband a little, it became so much easier to love him a lot.
And I do love him. A lot.
The days of late-night yelling and driving to my mom’s house are fewer and farther between than they’ve ever been. And even when they do happen (we are not perfect) thoughts of leaving for good don’t really cross my mind anymore.
The last time I drove away — many months ago — my cell phone lit up almost immediately and when I answered my husband asked me, in all seriousness, if I was leaving him. And it was all I could do not to burst out laughing. No, I told him — it will take a whole lot more than this for me to give up on you. I could almost hear him smiling on the other end of the phone. Well then you might as well come home, he said. Yes, I guess I might as well, I replied. So I turned the car around.
It gets easier to let go of your pride as the years go by — that’s the second thing I want to say. There are still days when I am angry for no discernible reason. Like when I snap at my husband for leaving his socks by the front door, which is a really stupid reason to get mad at anyone (a point that my husband, much to my chagrin, likes to points out). Years ago, this would invariably develop into a gigantic fight — the kind where you can’t remember how it started after it’s all over and you are thoroughly wrung out.
These days, amidst all of the irrational thoughts that cross my mind in the beginning of such fights, there usually comes a moment when the storm clouds part ever so slightly, a tiny voice of reason peeks through, and I ask myself why I’m so mad. And then, with a great big gulp, I swallow my pride and tell my husband that I’m grouchy. And I don’t know why. But there you have it. Gigantic fight averted.
The last thing I want to say is that there is no recipe for successful marriages — at least that’s what I’ve learned. But there is a recipe for unhappy marriages, and the first step in that recipe is “compare your relationship to other ‘perfect’ relationships.” There are no perfect relationships, and it is my true and honest belief that anyone trying to convince you that they “never fight” is hiding something far uglier and nastier than anything I’ve ever encountered in my fight-filled marriage.
This has been, perhaps, the toughest lesson to learn — because without a recipe for happiness, there are also no guarantees. There’s no way to know, one way or the other, where the chips will fall in my marriage 10, 20, 30 years down the line. All those years ago, when I simply waited around for the whole thing to fall apart, I was a lot less scared — I could, after all, brace myself for the impact.
Choosing a lifetime of love, for me, is much, much harder. It means that I am jumping in, head first, without knowing what’s waiting for me below. It means that I have to be willing to give my whole heart, all the while accepting that there might still be failure waiting for me in the end.
It’s beyond terrifying, and sometimes I’m terrible at it. Sometimes my Type-A personality demands guarantees that my heart will never be crushed, that my happily ever after is written in stone, and that I will someday die a well-loved, married woman. It’s a lot to worry about, I know, but these fears plague me.
I can’t pretend to know the ending to this story, so I won’t bother trying to guess. But, come to think of it, I was wrong before when I said there were no guarantees, because there is ONE guarantee and it is this: never again will I be ashamed to fight in my marriage.
No matter the heights of the highs or the depths of the lows, I will go in fighting and I will not despair. Because now I know: this doesn’t mean that I have failed — it simply means that I have something still worth fighting for.
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I love these bottles. I basically just threw out all of Gabriel’s other sippy cups and bought a couple more of these for Gabriel. He’s thrown them several times and they have proven to be pretty resilient, in case you were wondering. Have you heard of lifefactory? I’m mildly obsessed with this company. I don’t know if there is any other way to talk about why I love their products so much without a list, so here it is:
1. Their bottles are glass–the safest material to drink water from. This means they are BPA-free (and a lot of other yucky things-free). This means that your kid never has to drink funny tasting water out of a plastic or metal container. This also means that it can be heated without melting the way plastic does–blech.
2. Their designs are super chic. The colors are really quite stylish and the designs are simpleand not over the top.
3. Their bottles can be used at different stages thanks to interchangeable tops. Use the bottle top when your baby is a wee one, sippy top at the toddler stage, and plain bottle cap later or even for you! You can keep your original bottles and just buy different tops on their website or on amazon.
Remember this post about green smoothies with Gabriel drinking out of it?
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I talked last week about a horror story that I’d share, so here it is. We had our first accident. It was a big one. Gabriel bit a hole through his tongue. This is a true story and I’ve had a lot of “worst days of my life” days, but this one was by far, the winner. Here’s how it went:
Aidan, Gabriel and I were spending the night my dad’s house to keep him company after his knee surgery. Things were going well, Gabriel was playing around and walking and exploring and Aidan and I were just hanging out on the couch. Gabriel started to cruise around the coffee table–harmless–I was a foot away. Then, he slipped, not sure how, probably because he had a moment of clumsiness thanks to my genes. He hit his chin on the coffee table and I heard the loud smack. I knew it was going to be a horrible one so I swept him up and hugged him. He was WAILING, but I didn’t know what had happened yet.
I brought him into the kitchen to try to get some ice, and that’s when I saw it… ALL THE BLOOD. Insane amounts of blood (he also had a mouth full of saliva so the blood mixed with the saliva made the blood seem way more than it probably was) were all over his face and my shoulder and shirt. I was trying to figure out the freezer ice machine so Aidan took him. Aidan later told me that he had to “unskewer” his tongue from his teeth. (Remembering that still makes my knees weak).
I’m pretty sure I screamed something about frozen yogurt pops and I’m also pretty certain I yelled at the freezer for only giving me crushed ice and not cubed ice. We called Aidan’s sister who is a nurse, and she told us a few things to look out for: a pink tongue which ensures blood is still circulating and also to make sure that the bleeding eventually stops… She said the medicine would be popsicles. Perfect. Easy.
Aidan ran out the door like his feet were on fire and brought back some popsicles. He told me that he wanted to scream “don’t you know what’s going on?” at everyone on the road. (The only time I’ve ever felt like road rage was sweet)
Popsicles and Sponge Bob Square Pants were the perfect cure. He calmed right down, at least until it was time to eat and the wound opened back up and we were back to square one.
It was the single most horrifying, terrifying, heartbreaking moment of my life… and there was nothing I could do other than just hold him and try to keep him calm. It was terrible and there was no baby proofing that I could’ve done to prevent it. I’m incredibly squeemish about blood and open wounds, and everyone told me that once he got hurt I’d get over it—not true–the blood and the wound made me want to faint and puke simultaneously. The difference was, I love him SO much and to see him in so much pain was so awful that I knew I wasn’t allowed to faint, I knew I just had to hold my little munchkin and shake away any nausea or dizziness…for him.
I hope this never happens to anyone ever. But in case you ever find yourself in a situation similar… there’s no need to go to the ER unless they’ve bitten their tongue OFF (yeah, that happens too). Sponge Bob Square Pants + popsicles + tylenol + snuggles are the cure.
If only we could solve all problems that way.
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The high waisted two piece! Have you seen them around? They’re adorable and so perfect for moms!
Here are some of my favorite ones:
1. American Apparel.
2. Urban Outfitters.
3. Camila and Marc.
4. Mara Hoffman.
See more of the roundup here.
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If you read Andrea’s post last week, then you probably know how we met.
But what you should also know is that I completely deserved it when she told me to shut the hell up in that high school English class. In fact I believe I was, at the time, comparing our teacher to Hitler.
Because that’s me, in a nutshell. I stick my foot in my mouth so often that I’m starting to like the way my shoe tastes.
What I did after the class was over (which I actually don’t remember) is also characteristic of me — contrary to my tough outer shell, I am sentimental to the core. Sensitive even.
I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that Andrea invited me to be a part of her and Michelle’s space — more than anything in the past couple years, our friendship has shown me that the growing up never stops, and that sometimes the best of friends are found in the most unexpected places.
Friendship has always been a tricky subject for me, because for a long time I was convinced I was no good at it. I didn’t have many good and loyal friends growing up, and I assumed it was because I wasn’t the type of person who could get along with people — and by people, I mean large groups of girls.
I did belong to a large group of girls in high school — in fact, some of them might be reading this right now, which only goes to show how small and interconnected our worlds continue to be. But what I learned after high school was that the world is also gigantic, and the opportunity to find like-minded souls is endless. I didn’t know that growing up — I really thought that my options were completely limited to the group of girls who counted me among their number.
So I missed out — I missed out on friendships like Andrea’s, and that’s too bad because I happen to think she’s pretty awesome. Facebook, and social media, and even blogging, has gone a long way toward giving me a second chance to reconnect with people I just didn’t SEE before — people who email me regularly and say things like “I never knew that about you.”
When I became a mother seven years ago, I had exactly one friend. Don’t get me wrong — I had a ton of acquaintances, people that I was friendly with — but when it came to friends I could call at 2 in the morning because my son hadn’t stopped wailing for eight hours … I had one of those. Plus my sister.
I used to think that one girlfriend and one sister was pretty good. I thought that I was doing just fine, so long as I had these two women who I could call on, come hell or high water.
But what I learned about becoming a young mother (and even a mother in general) is that it’s incredibly isolating. My one friend (as wonderful as she was, and still is) was in a completely different place than me — a place that included bar hopping, and lazy afternoons spent shopping, and grad school applications. And my sister, supportive as she was, was in newly-wedded bliss three states away, enjoying those precious years with her husband before kids come along and ruin everything (kidding!)
Add to this the fact that I was a stay-at-home mom for the first year of my son Noah’s life, and that I barely knew the guy sleeping next to me (no joke — we had dated for 4 months when I found out I was pregnant, but that’s a whole other story), and you’ve got a big pile of depressed. Postpartum depression fell on me like a ton of bricks — nine months after I gave birth.
Yeah, that’s what I thought too. But my doctor confirmed: yes, you can get postpartum depression even when you thought you were so far out of the woods you don’t even remember what the trees look like. It was during this first bout with depression that I started to reevaluate my life, and my needs. And what I’ve discovered is that I need friends to be happy. I need more than one friend and one sister — I need a group.
Getting there, though — that’s been tough. I started with mom groups, figuring that our common interests would make for strong friendships. It didn’t, which you can read about here.
I realized then that the best friendships don’t necessarily come in a ready-to-assemble kit. The absolute BEST friendships, I’ve found, are collected slowly over time, nurtured and harvested, until they are completely solid. I’ve also found that my relationships are constantly evolving, and that as difficult as it is, sometimes certain ones have to be weeded out in order for the rest to thrive.
Today I’ve got such a solid core group of friends, that sometimes I’m kind of in disbelief that this is me — the girl who was no good at friendship.
My friendships run the gamut, from my sister and my best girlfriend from way back when, to a girl who was once my sister’s co-worker and who I now consider family. These days, I need two hands to count the number of people I could call at 2 in the morning, and that feels pretty damn incredible.
I’m proud of these friendships, because I’ve put a lot of work into maintaining them. Yes, that has meant that sometimes I leave my family in order to spend time with my “girls”, and, yes, it’s hard when my 7-year-old son asks me where I’m going and then pouts and says “You ALWAYS hang out with your friends.” Like most moms, I suffer from severe guilty-mother syndrome (and on a sidenote: I hear there’s no cure).
But just as I start to wonder if maybe hanging out with my girlfriends a couple times a month is too much (it isn’t), something happens that tells me, loud and clear, that I’m making the right choice, not just for me but for my family, too.
Last month, as Noah’s birthday approached, I asked him who he wanted to invite to his party. He started listing the names of boys in his class (Brandon C., Brandon S., Brandon R. …. there were a lot of Brandons) but then he paused and said “Don’t forget to invite Erin. And Tricia. And Andrea and Gabriel. I want them there too.” And I realized these friendships aren’t just mine — that these friendships, if I’m lucky, will last a lifetime, and that these friends are going to be present, not just for me but for my kids.
Moral of the story? (there is always a moral to my story — I’m sorry, I can’t help it. There is a soap box permanently attached to the bottom of my feet).
Make time for your friends.
Even when you’re a brand new mom and you think your precious baby can’t bear to be without you for a few hours (he can), and even when you are so busy you can barely remember to change your underwear let alone call up a friend, and even when your 7-year-old tries to go all guilt-trippy on you — make time for your friends and don’t feel bad about it.
Go to happy hour, or find a running buddy, or meet up at your single friend’s apartment and make her watch Gone With the Wind with you.
Carve out time for your friends, because I promise you it will not just make you a better person and mother, it’ll make your kids better too, because they will learn the value of friendship through you.
And, that, people, is one of the most important things you can give them.
Thanks for reading
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We were in San Francisco for a bit last week, my brother-in-law and his high school girlfriend tied the knot. Isn’t that so sweet? They actually dated in high school, broke up and more than a decade later they get married! That was actually the best part of my week, but I don’t want to post pictures of them since I think they’re pretty private about their internet presence. There was also a WORST part of my week, but I’ll save that for another day.
I had some more faves from this week, but for some reason my instagram is failing me. Eh, what can you do? I refuse to sit here and fight with technology… It always wins. I’ll be sure to share more pictures next week and share my horror story.
Looking forward to this weekend!
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Do you recognize my little cutie? My sister works for American Apparel and as a result, we get hooked up with a little modeling gig for Gabriel once in a while. It’s really fun! We get adorable pictures of Gabriel as well as a paycheck for his growing bank account!
He’s been doing it since he was a little baby! It’s great to have professional pictures of him in different stages of his little life! The reason I mention all of this is because people always ask me how they can get their kids to model for American Apparel too, and I never know what to say, but now I do!
If you’re interested in having your kids model for American Apparel, send pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And on another note, they will be doing their Flea Market starting Friday, June 8th. You can get up to 90% off and the baby/kid stuff is such a good deal! I’ll be there and so will Gabriel!
To keep in touch with American Apparel Kids, “like” them on facebook page here. They often have flash sales that are announced solely on their facebook page! In the meantime, if you poke around on their website, find Gabriel (You might even find me or my sister on there too).
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I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day yesterday! We spent the weekend in San Francisco attending Aidan’s brother’s wedding which was so incredibly beautiful and touching. We got to spend a lot of time with family, which makes me incredibly happy!
Taking a short break on the tuesday etsy spotlights for a few weeks. I got a request for a roundup of bathing suits for the summer! The first bathing suit roundup I’m doing is one pieces! Gabriel left me with a few impressive battle scars after I had him, so I’m pretty certain that my bikini days are over. Luckily there are more than a few one piece bathing suits that are super stylish and flattering!
4. Marc Jacobs.