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Sunday drivers

We’re often in belt tightening mode at our house.

I’d like to decisively cast the blame at our two teenagers who are always outgrowing clothes and shoes (or their interest in said clothes and shoes), needing a bevy of toiletries at every turn (our tub looks like an explosion of the health and beauty department with shampoos, conditioners, leave-in products, straightening serums, detangling combs, etc.), and eating everything that isn’t nailed down. Truth is, the stalled economy hit us hard and those gangly teenagers are only part of the reason we slip in and out of belt tightening mode. Read more »

Alone at last

For the first time in I don’t know how long, I was home alone last night. It was just an hour – between my husband’s departure for a meeting and picking up my youngest at soccer practice – but it was a sweet 60 minutes that only other busy mothers can truly understand and appreciate. Read more »

3 Shocking Reasons Pinterest Starts with ‘P’

I recently met a smart, savvy female blogger who touted the awesomeness of Pinterest. I’ve used it a few times (with little success) but after our conversation I logged back on. To my delight, there were zillions of great ideas that I couldn’t wait to try with Felicity. I pinned and pinned until my pinning finger pulsed with pain. Read more »

I announced that I’m pregnant on live television

I’m pregnant, and I want to scream it from the mountaintops. However, when I first found out, I wanted to hide my little secret away from everyone besides my husband.

Of course, we were beyond excited to be having a baby, but I was also overwhelmed with questions, and fears. I was afraid to tell others, and then to have something sad happen to the baby. I didn’t know how I would be able to handle telling others, and decided to keep our secret to just a few supportive and loving friends and family members. I was tired in the afternoons, and my poor husband lived with a sloth for a couple of months.

At my last doctors appointment, she recommended that I come out to the rest of our family, friends, and coworkers. She laughed and told me that I would most certainly start showing soon, and that people would rather hear it from my lips, then think I ate a couple of large burritos one day (I do love burritos though…so that may still happen.)

So we had our closest friends and family on the phone or over for a party this weekend, and we shared our great news. Today, I was able to share it with my coworkers, and our viewers on The Rhode Show.

I am due in the middle of the spring, and have been pregnant all winter long. I can not wait to make our baby it’s very own Christmas stocking, like how my mom did for me. My books and smartphone applications told us when we could hear sounds, so I tried to sing to it in the car. We took a picture of my first “bump shot” as soon as I was showing, and I’ve been excited to see how my body has changed to make room for this little person.

I’m delighted to be a mommy to be!

Tots and the winter coat dilemma

carseat_coat

Winter coats are a necessary evil here in the Northeast. They’re essential for protecting baby from harsh weather, awesome for letting your toddler play outside without getting soaked and most of them are pretty darn cute. So what’s so evil about them?

Winter coats and infant or toddler car seats just do not mix. It’s a safety thing! The main cause of concern is that a child’s car seat straps are too loose (even though they may feel tight to you) when he or she is wearing a bulky jacket, which means the car seat will not work properly in an accident. How scary is that?!

There are two fixes to this – a short route and a long route:
1). The Coat/Strap Experiment (aka the long route)

* Bundle the baby up in his winter jacket and put him in the car seat.

* Fasten the car seat buckles, securing baby in the car seat like you’re ready to go, loosening the straps if needed to fit both him and the jacket.

* Unbuckle the car seat buckles without loosening the straps.

* Take his jacket off and put him back in the car seat.

* Fasten the car seat buckles (again, don’t loosen or tighten the straps). Determine if the baby is secure enough in the car seat without you tightening the straps? If not, the coat is too bulky for the car seat. If the baby is wearing a bulky coat in an accident and the straps are too loose to account for the bulkiness of the coat, your precious bundle could be ejected from the car seat leaving only the jacket behind. This has actually happened

2). The Bold and the Bare-tiful (aka the short route):

* Warm up your car a few minutes before departure.

* Forgo the coat for the car ride (bringing it along for your final destination).

* Dress the baby in a few layers, such as a short-sleeved onesie, a long-sleeved top or onesie, and a warm but not super thick sweater.

* Bring a blanket for baby’s legs or cudding.

I use the short route. In addition to the safety and simplicity of it, I’m worried that Felicity will overheat. I tend to blast the heat in the car so it’s nice and toasty and I don’t want her sweating baby beads. My husband and I are on different sides of the fence with this. He thinks she should be wearing a jacket in the car. This is when we have to compromise. I put Felicity in her lighter (read: much less thick) winter coat when we go out in his car and she’s bold and bare-tiful in my car.

The rule of thumb for a car seat is that the only thing that’s supposed to be in it is your baby. This means that if you decide to use one of those stylish car seat covers, opt for one that covers baby by fastening to the outside of the car seat and not one you need to secure underneath the straps.

If you have any questions or your own winter wear challenges/tips, please post them in the comment section below. Stay safe and warm!

Something to look forward to

girl spreading her arms in the view of the sky

There have been so many times through the years that I feel like the bearer of bad news to my children. Reality is not always pretty and I’m the harbinger of reality in their lives.

Last weekend, my 15-year-old daughter went on a three-day trip to see her favorite dance crew give shows, meet and greets, dance parties and other assorted hoopla. She paid for the trip herself and anticipated its arrival for four months. The date came, she went and she had a fabulous time with her friends and “the boys” in the dance crew. Like all good things, though, it came to an end on Sunday.

Her lament?

“I have nothing else to look forward to.”

I actually wrestled with presenting the reality of the situation to her. She’s old enough and smart enough to understand the concept. I thought it best to let her wallow for a bit and see if the melancholy passed in an adolescent heartbeat, like many of her moods do. It, however, did not.

Two days after her return, and a million dramatic sighs and comments later, I looked her right in the eye and began awkwardly.

“You realize life is about being here,” I said, slicing my hand parallel to the floor in a horizontal line. “There are high points,” hand jutting upward, “and there are low points,” hand bottoming out in a valley before returning to the horizon. “But most of it is right here.”

Her look was akin to the devastation of learning the truth about Santa.

“Seriously? Well, I don’t know about you, but I just need to find something else to look forward to,” she said simply, flouncing away.

It made me think, as my kids’ simpler take on life often does, about having something to look forward to, something that reassures us through the valleys and gives us joy that speckles our lives afterward. Weekend plans beckon as our nose is to the grindstone during the work week. The promise of spring flowers brings sunshine to dark, cold winter days. A mid-afternoon snack eases the grumbles after a lackluster lunch.

The point is that while life cannot be all sparkles and rainbows, we each should reassess what we consider the highlights to always have something, however small, to look forward to. It’s a treat we owe ourselves.