Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Books is my friends

Henry and I just had the most adorable conversation.

He snuck into our bed after we tucked him in. 

"Oh my there's a Henry hiding in my bed!"

"Hehe, yeaaaa... I'm sneaky like a ninja turtle."

So I walked him back to his bedroom. 

"Can we read a book?" he asked, a question I decided years ago I would never say no to.

And so we read The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, which my mom gave to us for the holidays.



I've recently decided that my favorite genre of fiction is "books about books." And a children's book about books? Even better.

After we were finished I said to Henry, "I really liked that book. Did you?"

"Yes, me too."

"I really like to read too. There are so many good books in the world, how can we read them all?" I asked him.

"First, we can put them in a pile," he told me, "Books is my friends."

Books is my friends, too, kid... books is my friends too...


Friday, December 19, 2014

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays! From our family to yours!

Card (c) Laurealism created at Snapfish. Photo (c) Tiny Bubbles Photography.

Friday, November 28, 2014

2014 Gift Guides

Gift Guide posts are one of my favorite parts of blogging. I love scouring my favorite sites for fun items to share with you. This year I've divided the content into four categories: Young at Heart, Organizer, Book Lover and Munchkins. I hope I help you check some of the names off of your list!

Click image to enlarge. (c) Laurealism
1. Lawn Dice | $50 | Amazon or UncommonGoods | Spring will be here eventually
2. The Martian | $10 | Amazon | Who hasn't imagined life on Mars?
3. GoPro Drone Quadcopter | $429 | Amazon | What? You might totally win the lotto!
4. RC Helicopter | $20 | Amazon | Amazingly affordable fun
5. Bocce Ball Set | $45 | Amazon | This games needs to make a comeback
6. Magnetic Voice Recorder | $15 | Amazon | Well, this could be fun
7. Perpetual Calendar | $17 | Amazon | A cute way to keep up-to-date
8. Shower Squid | $36 | UncommonGoods | Everything you need at an arm's length

Click image to enlarge. (c) Laurealism
1. Retro Pens | $9 | Amazon | Quite the stylish stylus
2. Wine Preserver | $10 | Amazon | What do you mean leftover wine?
3. Snack Attack Storage | $8 | Amazon | Stores snacks and dips to-go
4. Nesting Mixing Bowls | $50 | Amazon | Pretty and practical
5. Nesting Food Storage | $35 | Amazon | Time to organize the tupperware drawer!
6. Wooden Desktop Clock | $29 | Amazon | Wood you tell me the time?
7. Journal | $24 | Urban Outfitters | Record your world
8. Lip Butter | $13 | Amazon | Assorted flavors. Pomegranate, please!
9. Refillable Travel Perfume | $10 | Amazon | Travel-sized spritzing
10. Felt iPad Case | $10 | Amazon | Doesn't your iThing deserve to be cozy?

Click image to enlarge. (c) Laurealism
1. Books | $4-$23 | Amazon | Books for a book lover? Imagine that!
    The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry | A book about books? You know me too well.
    All the Light We Cannot See | Historical Fiction hit of the year
    Big Little Lies | Surprisingly Insightful chick-lit.
    Tequila Mockingbird | Cocktails with a literary twist. Yes, please!
    1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die | You'd better get started.
2. Novel Teas | $15 | Amazon | English breakfast tea tagged with literary quotes
3. Felt Mini Journal | $15 | Amazon | A cozy place for your favorite quotes
4. Sprout Bookmarks | $7 | Amazon | No green thumb needed
5. Literary Scarf | $34 | UncommonGoods | Wrap yourself in Jane Eyre, among others

Click image to enlarge. (c) Laurealism
1. Julia's House for Lost Creatures | $13 | Amazon | Adorable story and illustrations
    Ki, Koo! | $11 | Amazon | A sweet introduction to haiku, and the seasons
2. Bubble Gun | $6 | Amazon | Seemingly endless bubble fun
3. Magnatab | $20 | Amazon | An interesting spin on an etch-a-sketch
4. Jellycat Cordy Roy Animals | $25 | Amazon | 2014 was Chinese Year of the Horse
5. Nerf Bow Blaster | $20 | Amazon | Can you say Katniss?
6. Story Cubes | $16 | Amazon | A creative way to encourage storytelling
7. Family Dinner Game | $10 | Amazon | Dinner conversation inspiration!
8. Castle Tent | $20 | IKEA | Black Friday Discount: $14
9. Break the Ice | $10 | Amazon | A throwback game that'll work for many ages.
10. Rainbow Maker | $25 | Amazon | Sometimes you'll want to make your own rainbows

So, what's on your wish list this year?

Also-- if you're doing a lot of online shopping this year, you may want to check this post out!

Oh, and full disclosure: I'm an Amazon Associate. And total Amazon Prime addict as well, which you likely see reflected above!

Happy shopping :)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Let's be thankful for mornings.

Thanksgiving, of course, makes us think about the things that we are thankful for. 

I'm thankful for my life: and everyone and everything in it. I could write an endless run-on sentence of thankfulness. But I probably wouldn't really be telling you anything you couldn't surmise for yourself.

So instead of counting my blessings, I'm choosing to find the good in something that I didn't recognize the good in before:

Mornings.

I can't do mornings the way I'd like. I'd love to jump out of bed, ready for the day, and immediately be able to tackle my children with energy. I'd love to spring from my bed: shower, unload the dishwasher, put in a load of laundry, do a morning sweep of the floors, all while preparing a nice hot breakfast for my family.

But I can't. I just can't. It's exhausting. Instead my mornings are:

6:30- Alarm goes off: an alarm I set the previous night. I was probably inspired by whatever book I was reading/Netflix show I was bingeing on and stayed up way too late. I always go to bed thinking, tomorrow is going to be amazing. I'm totally going to rock at life tomorrow. I'm actually going to shower in the morning and blow dry my hair for once. I'll even have time for makeup. The drop-off lady at school won't know what hit her. And then that damn alarm sounds, and I'm like eh, maybe tomorrow. And I turn it off.

Ultimately, I get up when I have to, which is usually when my husband is trying to leave the house for work without a baby or small child attached to him. The remaining three of us scramble to get fed, dressed, and out the door in time to get to school/speech/etc. Sidenote: coats, hats, gloves, shoes and socks are especially difficult in the mornings. By the time I dress child #2, child #1 has removed most everything I've already wrestled him into, and it's just a really long cycle. Really, long because I probably didn't manage coffee yet.

But you know who does rock mornings?? My children.

The moment they hit consciousness they are wide-eyed, balls of energy. Energy that can't be contained in those tiny bodies.

Henry will likely have a series of unrelated, unending questions, more so than any other time in the day. They must build up in his little head while he sleeps, and he can just now get them out. Anything he wants he asks while jumping. Please can we!? Please can we!? Please can we has pancakes/play dinosaurs/get monsters???

And William seems to wake up thinking that he didn't successfully explore every drawer and cabinet yesterday, so he dives head first into that task, opening anything he can open, and pulling everything out. I can only imagine what goes through his head: This box of pasta? Miraculous! Like nothing I've ever seen! Let's dump it on the floor and examine every glorious piece! Yes! Glorious! But what is this? Cupcake liners! I pull one out and there is still another one to pull out! And another one! And another one! It could be a tiny hat! Or a tiny boat! Or... oh! I bet I can rip this into more pieces than that napkin I shredded yesterday. He's the tiniest tornado I've ever known.

So lately, I've been wondering: How can they wake up every single day filled with such excitement, while I'm silently asking: can everybody just stop talking and be still for 10 minutes? I need to pull myself together.

And I think I have an answer: Their world, everything and everyone in it, is still so new to them. Henry didn't know yesterday that Grammy is Mommy's mommy. Or that a wrench is a wrench. Or that a pilgrim is a pilgrim and not a cowboy. 

And William probably doesn't remember having ever seen snow. So he needs to sit at that window: Face, nose, snot, spit and hands smeared against it and take a solid ten minutes to squeal, shriek and check it out.

And so on an average Monday, while my day likely entails things I've already seen and done hundreds of times before, these precious littles still have so much to discover and learn.

So I'm going to make an effort to be more grateful for mornings and the childish excitement that goes with it. I'm going to try to wake up excited for them. Because really, shouldn't I be absolutely thrilled that I'm getting to rediscover the magic that is this world, every day-- through my children?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Literary Baby Shower

A couple of weeks ago I helped host a baby shower for my sister-in-law, and I couldn't have been more in love with the theme: Children's books.

We decorated every table according to a book or author: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, The Giving Tree, Babar, Winnie the Pooh and Eric Carle. The best part? The parents-to-be got to go home with a lot of the decorations (books and stuffed animals) to fill their baby's library and nursery.
Here's the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Table complete with coconuts.
I was also seriously in love with the cake.
Amazing Cake by Sugar Monkey in Naperville. And the cupcakes were AMAZING.
We played a literary scramble and present bingo, had guests guess the baby's sex and arrival date on a giant calendar and my two favorite ideas...

Family Bucket List Scrapbook: For this we supplied each table with a bunch of cute paper and markers and asked guests to create a bucket list item for the family (go fly a kite, go to Disneyland, visit Mount Rushmore, etc.) We are compiling all the pages into a scrap book, so as the family checks off an item on the bucket list, they can include pictures and such to remember everything. What a great way to record memories!

Guest Artwork for baby's room: How adorable is this idea? I used one of these free printables to create a giant canvas that I ordered from Snapfish.
Printable (c) Kori Clark
I then asked guests to turn their name into a children's book title. I didn't get a picture of the finished product, but here are some of the great ideas: Green Eggs & Anne, Where the Wild Tetricks Are, The Very Hungry Jess. I just loved how it turned out!
I'm still swooning at this canvas... I want one for myself!
Guests went home with bookmarks and flower bulbs to plant now for Spring Blooms. And the parents-to-be did pretty well in the present department. This baby will enter the world with a lot of love surrounding him (or her!)

For the record, I guessed boy to arrive January first. No matter what, I can't wait to snuggle and read to that little nugget! Auntie Lauren loves you already :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

William the Pooh


My baby boy is one, and we had a blast helping him celebrate his first birthday earlier this month with a Winnie the Pooh theme.

In my next life, I think I'd like to be a children's room decorator and party-planner. Because, there's nothing more fun than a good children's theme.

I loved all the "Classic Pooh" details on this one. And it worked out well because I could use pumpkins and apples (something that is very in-season!) for decoration. And I think William enjoyed himself as well. Especially that cake!
Please note the Disney Font Banner.
Cake by Creative Cakes, Cookies by me! 
Welcome to Tetrick Acre Wood!
Make a Wish baby bear!
This fun toy is a Ybike Walk and Ride-on Buddy
The details:
Easy pooh-themed food labels!
Tigger Tails, Rabbits Garden and Kanga's Pouches
Pooh Gummy Favors with adorable label by A Party Studio
Pumpkin Decorating Station, acorn treats and more fun details.
From Michaels:
DIY Chalkboard Banner
Burlap Runners (to hold monthly pictures)
Mini Clothespins
Letter "W"
Decorative Baskets

From Amazon:
Chalkboards (great to have on hand for quotes for various parties, dinner menu, etc.)
Honey Bear Containers (Red and Yellow Gummy bears from Albanese)

Questions about anything? Just ask! Happy Party Planning!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

And never the same love forever

There is an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote:

There are all kinds of love in this world
but never the same love twice.

I've always like that quote. Because the love that you have for your children is different than the love that you have for your spouse, is different than the love that you have for your parents, is different than the love that you have for you best friend, and on and on and on.

But I want to elaborate:

There are all kinds of love in this world
but never the same love twice
and never the same love forever.

Because love changes, doesn't it?

Mark and I had a love-at-first-sight experience. The circumstances of the first couple of times we ran into each other were most certainly fated. I imagine Fate as a sort of person, nudging us together when we came near one another. I certainly wasn't in love with Mark after the first time I saw him, but I knew something was happening, the cogs of our future were set into motion. Love was about to happen. And that's a sort of love isn't it? The knowing that comes before?

Then there was the love I felt when he said I love you, for the first time: the excited, spill your heart out sort of love.

There was the love I felt when he was down on his knee in front of me, proposing: a deliriously happy sort of love.

There was the love I felt when I heard his voice quiver with his vows: it was the we-know-each-other's-secrets sort of love. A comforting love, one to be relied on forever.

There was the love I felt when he held our sons for the first time: a proud sort of love, knowing fatherhood had hit him full force in just a second or two.

The love I have for my husband hasn't stopped evolving since that very first moment when we locked eyes. It's becoming more complex, more solid and more meaningful as our life together unfolds.

Sometimes I wonder if Fate, who began pushing us together eight years ago, ever checks in on us. I imagine she pats herself on the back. I knew it, she thinks. Those two were meant for love.

26.1119° N
97.1697° W

(Our fated coordinates)

Monday, October 6, 2014

One Year of Will

Happy. Serious. Independent. Easy-going.

That's my William.
(c) Tiny Bubbles Photography
One year ago, I was going to bed with contractions that had a little more kick to them than the rest of my Braxton-Hicks. I was calling my brother saying, "you're on call. Tonight may be the night." He'd get another call 3 hours later. "Yep, going to need you to come over and watch Henry. It's go-time."

I was waking my husband saying, "You remember that bag I told you to pack before your went to bed? You have to actually pack it now."

My brother and sister-in-law arrived and I remember my brother saying something like, "This isn't at all how I'd imagine it, I thought there'd be running and screaming."

And then we were in the truck on the way to the hospital. The truck that, no exaggerating, has ZERO shock absorption. Have you had a baby? Just imagine a contraction while riding a horse, because that's how it felt. If you haven't had a baby, I have no words to relate the uncomfortableness of that particular situtation. To the truck's credit: I believe it helped me dilate a centimeter or two, so by the time we arrived at the hospital, I was already at 4.

I cried in the hospital parking lot. It was most likely the hormones, but something about I'm not coming out of that building, until this baby is on the outside of my body, just scared me to tears.

Mark napped. There were some mild contractions, some painful contractions, and the time I accidentally pressed the holy sh!t emergency button instead of the nurse call button (which was, on a whole, reassuring because there were a lot of people there rather quickly.) 

There was a lot of, "Would you like us to break your water? Would you like an epidural?" 

And a lot of, "No seriously it hurts, but not bad enough to need it to stop yet."

There was one contraction that I didn't think I'd make it through. It broke my water and we called the nurse. I was prepared to say, "Okay, I'll take the drugs now." But I was interrupted by another contraction, a contraction that had the added oomph of, okay I need to push. 

"Let me just check, you likely didn't progress that quickly," (hand where the sun doesn't shine, it's funny how you seriously don't care whose hands are where at this point) and a, "Oh wow, yep that's a ten!" (To this day I'm choosing to take this as a complimentary rating, as opposed to a measurement.)

And all of sudden... lots of nurses running around... lots of frantic-ness. I vaguely remember hearing someone whisper to someone else-- her doctor just scrubbed in for a c-section.

There was one push. A practice-push if you will, monitored by a doctor not my own. (But she seemed great!)

And then the doctor was there. 

"I thought you were in a c-section?"

"They caught me just in time."

"Tell that other woman I'm sorry. Seriously, will you? She's probably so mad at me."

There was another push.

Stirrups out. Husband's face is white.

"One more push and he'll be here."

"I'm sorry, what? Is that even okay? I thought babies weren't supposed to come too quickly, we just started."

A sort of smirk from the doctor. "It really is fine. Just push."

That slimy, alien-octopus feeling.

And then there was William.

Little William under the bright lights of the big world. The star of his show. 

I remember being slightly shocked that he was a whole new baby. A whole new person. I held him for a moment and then he went to vitals and clean-up.

Mark looked at me and said, "Babe it happened so fast there was no-where for me to hide." (He prefers to be up near my face during the whole baby-birthing thing.)

"Are you sure you're okay?" the doctor asked.

"I feel fine. I'm just can't believe it's already over."

"Everything looks fine, you should be happy that it went quickly," he replied. But what he really should have said was: 

"It's only just begun."

William, I pray for so many things for you. It's a good thing that I pray through my heart because I wish for you more than I have words to express. I look forward to seeing you every day, as you grow into your person. I hope I remember, when you are full grown and towering over me, the smiling little nugget that I will pull out of bed tomorrow on his first birthday.

Happy birthday, William Marlow. One year down, little man. Your adventure has just begun.
(c) Tiny Bubbles Photography

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Lies I Told Myself

Sometimes the days-before-kids seem like yesterday, other times those days seem an eternity ago. Mostly it depends on how near nap-time we are. In reality I've been a mom for a little over three years.

I laugh at my pre-kid self. Because seriously, she had NO idea what was about to happen. (I also happen to be insanely jealous of her sleeping habits.)

I told myself so many lies about how I would be as a parent:

We're going to be on a perfect schedule.
Toys won't take over my house. 
Kids won't sleep in my bed.
I'm so ready for this parenting thing.

Now? I can tell you those are all lies. But I honestly believed myself at the time. Another lie I told myself?

I won't tell silly little lies to my children to just make things easier.

But, suddenly these silly little lies are spilling out of my mouth. All. the. time:

Sorry, sweetie I don't know where the last two cookies went.
Mommy doesn't know how to change batteries.
Mickey mouse seriously loves avocados, Henry. Don't you want to try them?
That arcade machine is broken, but maybe next time.
Sorry, Netflix doesn't have Calliou anymore. How about Carebears?

So, let's hear it: What pre-parenting lies did you tell yourself? What notions changed for you after the reality of kids set in?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Awkward

That one time I made Buzzfeed. (#24)

Seen by 125,000 people and counting. Just a few more than saw it originally. Oh boy.

I said it then and I'll say it again. You have to be able to laugh at yourself :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Takeover

This morning I woke up to a baby key ring teether and a toy semi-truck in our bed.

I brushed my teeth under the watchful gaze of a rubber ducky.

I usually eat breakfast with Mickey Mouse or Doc McStuffins. 

Jake & The Neverland Pirates join me for lunch.

There's a sippy cup, a juice box and a half-eaten packet of applesauce in my passenger seat.

There are currently two Hot Wheels and a bouncy ball in my fruit bowl.

I usually find Fisher-Price Little People hiding in my shoes.

Today, I stepped on a tiny, yellow construction cone that I didn't even know existed previously.

Last time I traveled for work I found a pretend hot dog in my laptop bag as I went through security.

My bedside table is littered with children's books.

There's a railway down the hallway, that wasn't there this morning.

Slowly, and then all at once* this kid paraphernalia has invaded every corner of my world.  The culprits? These tiny humans that come with oh-so-much stuff? Well, while they have most certainly taken over my home, they have managed to even more completely conquer my heart.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.


*Quote credit: John Green (The Fault in Our Stars

Friday, August 15, 2014

Quote It: Read and Kiss

(c) Laurealism

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Just a Girl in a Boy World

I've always sort of thought of myself as a boy-mom.

Don't get me wrong, being the mother of a girl would be awesome. Girl clothes are WAY cuter and a mommy/daughter pedicure sounds amazing. And, of course a girl technically could be in our future. But for now: 

I am a boy mom.

I'm not sure what I was thinking exactly with this whole boy-mom business, but now that Henry is getting a little bit older (and baby brother William is all over the place...) it is starting to dawn on me:

I have no idea what it is like to be a boy. 

I have no idea what it's like to grab at my penis every so often. I'm assuming it's to check to make sure it's still there. 

I have no idea what it's like to discover that I have balls. 
Look, mommy! I have eggs in my penis!
Those are your testicles, sweetie. Most people just call them balls.

I have no idea what it's like to love bugs. Like actually enjoy their presence.
I looove bugs, Mommy! I love them.

I have no idea what it's like to be unafraid of spiders. If a spider falls on you, or you touch one, or you pick one up, or heaven forbid you EAT ONE: you are on your own. Or I can kill it with a shoe, but of course that means I will be smacking you with a shoe, so you know, your choice.

I have no idea what it's like to want to pick up every rock I see and want to keep it. Forever. 
Please, Mom? Rock play in my room?

I have no idea what it's like to somehow know exactly what every vehicle sounds like, and be able to do a pretty good impression of it. Also: I'm bad with cars. There are cars, SUVs, Trucks and Semis. I will never know which make or model, and I certainly will never be able to tell by headlights alone. "White van" is about as descriptive as I can be. So please don't get kidnapped because I will not be able to describe the vehicle.

I have no idea what it's like to have the ability to turn just about anything into a weapon. Goodness help me when you figure out you can make guns out of your hands.

I have no idea what it's like to want to pee outside every chance I get. You know that kills the grass, right?

I have no idea what it's like to want to pick up frogs. Or snakes. Or other yucky things. If I see something move out of the corner of my eye, and it's not fluffy, my first reaction is to scream.
You otay, mommy?
Yes, I'm okay. I just thought that toad was a giant spider for a second. It's cool now. No I don't want to touch it.

I have no idea what it's like to think mud and poop are cool. Dirty and cool aren't synonyms for me.

And someday? I will have no idea what it's like to change a tire, or my oil. Or anything to do with tools. This is why God created husbands. The definition of a garage to me is a place to park a car or keep your holiday decorations. 

So while I always pictured myself as a boy-mom, I have a lot to learn. Because before I was a Mom, I was a just a girl. So, next time you want to show off that bug, or play "bad guys" with real sound effects... go talk to Daddy.

But I'm totally up for a tea party with the stuffed animals when you have a minute. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Pirate's Life for Me

I think my brother said it best, when he asked me this weekend:

You really commit to a theme, don't you?

Um, have you met me?!

I LOVE party planning. And I'm sorry in advance kids, but you'll have a themed party long after you've outgrown them. 

Sock-monkeys (just realized I never blogged that one... throwback post in the future...) choo-choo trains and this year pirates? 

Yo ho! Let's go!

Henry loves Jake & The Neverland Pirates Lately, so we already had some of the toys around the house, but anything I bought is already being put to good use by my little pirate. (You be Hook, Mom. I be Jake.)

We had a blast!
Yep, those are votive candles on the cake. Mom of the year over here couldn't find the birthday candles.
Pinata!
Jake & The Neverland Pirats. Everywhere!
Cake Table! Details Below.
Signage is important. You wouldn't want your guests forgetting where they are.
 Details, details! Doubloons, "Fish N Chips," Cannonball Swords...
Treasure Dig, cake table and Pirate Garb table.
Want the details?

Pirate Garb Station:
Inflatable swords (Party City)
Eye Patches and pirate earrings (Party City)
Pirate Hats (Amazon)
Pirate Tattoos (Amazon)

Buried Treasure Dig:
Bones (Party City)
Gold Doubloons (Amazon)
Jewels (Amazon)
Water Table (Amazon)

Cake Station:
Instagram Prints (Snapfish)
Happy Birthday Sign (Target)
Pirate Plates & Napkins (Target)
Cake (Creative Cakes)
Jake Sword (Amazon)
Bucky Pirate Ship (Toys R Us)

Other:
Invitations, not pictured (Tiny Prints)
Pirate Ship Bounce House and Slide (Midway Rentals, NW Indiana & Chicagoland)
Small Chalkboards 14"x14" (Amazon)
Large Chalkboard (Ikea)
Treasure Chest Pinata (Party City)
Treasure Chest Goodie Bags, not pictured (Amazon)
"Fish N Chips" Jake Buckets (Party City)
Jake & The Neverland Pirate Wall Decals, not pictured  (Amazon)
Pirate Ship Tent, not pictured (Amazon)

What was your favorite party theme as a child? What was your favorite to create for your kid?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Stroller in the Skies


(Below is a copy of an email to Southwest after a minor inconvenience. Their response to follow. I was limited to a certain number of characters or I would have been more descriptive.)
--
First off I would just like to say that you are my preferred airline.

That being said I feel the need to let you know about a recent negative experience. I'm notifying you, so that you have the opportunity to make it better for your customers in the future.

A business man may claim that his laptop is his most important carry-on. A leisurely traveler might say its a book. A mother on the other hand will tell you: I would lose my mind in an airport without a stroller.

I recently checked our stroller at a gate for a return flight, a regular occurrence. It's always there waiting for me on the jetway upon arrival. I've never given it a second thought.

However on this flight it was not waiting for us. I checked with a flight attendant and a gate agent, who were friendly. Both told me the stroller was likely sent to baggage claim and that I should check there.

Herein lies my problem. We have a toddler (3) and a baby (9 months.) The baby is a solid 21 pounds. And the toddler moves at a rate that nearly has him moving backwards, especially in an airport with so much to see. You can imagine how much fun it was getting said baby, said toddler, and all of our gear from the gate to baggage claim, where we continued to wait another 20 minutes for every last bag to be claimed, before I was allowed to file a claim.

John at claims was very friendly. But my 21 pounder was definitely weighing on me. (Sidenote: I also noticed the blatant mistreatment of another couple by the manager on duty, who refused to file a claim for them.)

Yesterday, the stroller was waiting for us on the front step. Thank you for returning it.

I know mistakes happen. But, the real problem? At no point in all of this were we offered any help getting our family from the gate, to our vehicle.

It was a minor inconvenience, but an inconvenience none-the-less. I'm looking for a minor advantage in exchange. Suggested options:

-A1 boarding on a future flight + VIP treatment at check-in and security
-A massage
-An adult beverage. Or 5.

I will give you one last option:
-A video of your CEO in my position: carrying a 21 pounder plus his carry-on and a kiddy bag from our gate to the terminal at the slowest rate possible. This rep must answer a constant steam of unending toddler questions. Preferably he/she is at the end of their shift or a very long day of travel.

Thank you in advance for making sure every parent who needs one, has a stroller ready for them in the future.
--

What was your best airport experience? What was your worst?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Looking Back

-C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Parental Time Warp

There's this strange time-warp phenomena when you're a parent. Time slows down, speeds up, turns around on itself in seemingly impossible ways. And you can't keep track. It's impossible. Time runs away from you before you even think to try and grab at it.

Our first baby just turned three. But, yesterday--wait wasn't that just yesterday?-- we were bringing him home from the hospital in a newborn-sized diaper. How are we at big boy batman underwear already? How? 

Not rhetorical.

How could three years possibly have passed in what seems like overnight? Is there some mathematical formula for this?

More impossible, still is that in that blink of an eye there were some impossibly long moments, too. Moments that dragged on forever. Night feedings and tantrums and flights that would never end. 

And still thousands of tiny spurts of perfect moments, too. Laughs and smiles, and oh look you're rolling over, crawling, walking, running... wait for me!

Seriously, wait.

I'm sure many of you are more familiar than I am with the parental time-warp. You probably blinked at one point to find fully grown humans in your household, eating through your pantry faster than you can stock it.

Were they ever really little? Or did you simply imagine that?

And still more of you glanced away for a second--it couldnt have been more than a second, right?-- to find your babies having babies.

As if that were even possible.

Some days I want to rewind. Some days I want to fast-forward. Some days I don't even know yesterday from tomorrow.

But I don't think I'll ever understand how the long days and nights add up to impossibly short years.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Eventual Man.

I remember a moment in the hospital after Henry was born. It was the very first time I was alone with him. After all the doctors and nurses had left, and Mark had gone to find coffee.

He was all bundled up, lying in his little hospital cradle. So tiny, so sweet. 

Eyes wide.

Those wide blue eyes startled me. My heart raced.

Because in the twelve hours since he'd arrived in our world, I hadn't had a chance to let it sink in. Let him sink in. And he was just looking at me... connecting. Intensely, yet calm and serene like he'd already been here for a thousand years.

Here I am, mom. Are you ready for this journey?

And in this moment I really saw him: This little person. This eventual man.

It occurred to me then, that this little nugget was already himself. He already had a personality. He already had opinions, hopes, dreams and talents. He had it all. He has it all. And three years later, it's starting to shine through.

He can say things like I love you, Mom.

I don't like that.

Me happy.

It's okay, buddy. (to Will, when he's crying)

Me come, too, Daddy. Me help, too.

Sometimes there's a naughty little twinkle in his eye. Sometimes there's a big belly laugh that catches me off guard because, really how can he already understand my humor? 

He'll only dance to jazz. He memorizes his favorite books faster than I can. Getting him to sing is nearly impossible. But ask him to roar, and you'll think you're at the zoo. 

Occasionally there are tears. Big, fat tears that I wish I could halt immediately. I want to be on his side always. Even when I don't, even when he's wrong. Does that even make sense?

My little person? This eventual man? I get to meet a little bit more of him every day. And his little journey in this world brings me great joy. He brings me great joy.

Henry, you grow more and more into the person you were meant to be every day. I love that person and I love you.

Happy 3rd Birthday, my sweet Henry. Here's to many, many more.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Grand Old Flag

A happy and safe 4th of July, folks!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Your Moment: A Mighty Roar

This post is part of a new blog series called Your Moment. Details below.

Copyright @Katie
Meet Jack. He is roaring at the ocean. Because when you're 16 months old, if you want to be bigger and badder than the entire ocean, you can be. Let's all approach the world and our fears with a roar today and do something great! Thanks for the inspiration, Jack!

Thanks to Jack's mom, Katie from North Carolina for sharing this moment. Katie is a work-at-home mom to two wonderful boys and wife to Patrick who, "inspires me everyday," she says. You can find Katie and her food blog HERE or her crafty Facebook page HERE

Your Moment is a series featuring you, my dear readers and all of your heartfelt, hysterical or heavenly moments. Each post will include an image (copyrighted to you, professional and amateur photos accepted!) a caption, and a link-up to your blog or business (if applicable, but not neccessary) with your approval on all copy and photos before publishing. Email your moments to me at laurealism@gmail.com to be featured or for more details! I'm looking for some great photos to feature!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Laurealism Library: Volume 2

I received a lot of great feedback (and so many messages!) from those of you who enjoyed Laurealism Library: Volume 1. So here I am with a second dose for you. And like last time, you'll find the below list in order from least enjoyed to most enjoyed.



Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by The Countess of Carnavon
Pick this up if: You like detailed, historical non-fiction. You like books others tend to think are a bit boring.
You'd also enjoy: I have no suggestions here because I hardly read non-fiction!
Rating: 2/5

Notes: This was just a little dry for me. I was looking for a little more gossip, a little more juice. Non-fiction that reads like fiction. And this book just wasn't that for me. I'd rather watch Downton Abbey!

One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus
Pick this up if: You want an easy to read, historical fiction.
Rating: 3/5

Notes: This was an entertaining idea, and I got through it very quickly. Definitely pick this up if all you read is historical fiction. But if you're looking for something to change your life, this probably isn't it. Though it did inspire me to do a little more research on the history of Indians in North America. 

The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Pick this up if: You're overdue for a classic or want something you can finish in an afternoon.
You'd also enjoy: Of Mice and Men and The Sun Also Rises
Rating: 3/5

Notes: This is a simple book. It's a simple story about a simple man. But it resonates and is worth reading. Maybe even while fishing!

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Pick this up if: You're curious about all the hype.
You'd also enjoy: The Hunger Games
Rating: 3/5

Notes: I like a good dystopian novel, and Divergent didn't disappoint.

The Vacationers: A Novel by Emma Straub
Pick this up if: You need something to read by the pool. Or on the beach. Or in the sun (take me with you?)
You'd also enjoy: What Alice Forgot
Rating: 3.5/5

Notes: It was easy to like The Vacationers. Straub does and excellent job of making the relationships in this novel very real. And she ties everything up in the end into a nice, happy, little bow. Which is definitely a quality you want in a summer read.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Pick this up if: You want a little adventure, a little imagination and a good message.
Rating: 4/5

Notes: If you've seen the movie, you may want to skip the book. But if you haven't seen the film yet... go for it, so worth it.

Orphan Train: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline
Pick this up if: You don't mind a few tears.
You'd also enjoy: The Book Thief and The Other Boleyn Girl
Rating: 4/5

Notes: This book got better and better as I read it. And even though I just finished it last night, I miss it already.

A Trip to the Stars: A Novel by Nicholas Christopher
Pick this up if: You want a solid novel, filled with great writing and characters to really fall in love with.
You'd also enjoy: And the Mountains Echoed
Rating: 5/5

Notes: I just really, really loved this one. I often highlight all of my favorite passages in books, and this one had so many. There's a touch of heartache, magic and mystery. But it is a story to fall in love in with. It also inspired me to do a little more research on constellations, which is fun!

Rating Scale:
1- Um, there are grammar errors.
2- Skip it. I likely didn't finish it.
3- A solidly good book.
4- Must-read list
5- My All-time Favorites

Disclaimer: The above links will likely send you to Amazon, for which I am an affiliate (and where I purchased all of these books.) All opinions are my own.

That should keep you occupied for awhile! What are you reading? What book is next on your list?