December 15, 2011

More Local Louisville Shopping

Ah, the first post of the year. It always gives such a fresh feel. I do want to back track though, because I'm proud to say I did pretty well at accomplishing my goal to shop locally this holiday season. I'm estimating about 80% of my gifts were bought from small businesses here in town. 


In the last few years our lives have been filled with children and I sort of made an executive decision to just buy for the kids. They are the fun ones to shop for anyway, and I would be happy if my friends and family just bought for Beckett, so without really consulting anyone, that's mostly what we've done. 
Why Louisville is such a great store for gifts and their t-shirts for kids are awesome! So I bought several of them for the chillen' in my life and in some cases used them as wrapping for the additional gifts we bought them. 

Amazing Green Planet has an awesome toy section and we bought Plan Toys for some of our baby friends. One of my favorite gifts from AGP, which we gave to my niece, was the cookware and dining set by Green Toys made of recycled plastic bottles. Beckett got a used kitchen from his cousin, Danni, so I just may have to pick one up for him too.

We gave a lot of books this year, they are my favorite gift to give, and Carmichael's has a really amazing kid's section (the rest of their sections are equally amazing). We found all sorts of unique board books with awesome art and super cool pull tab and pop up books for the older kids. I had too much fun shopping there. 

For Hillary I had several photos of Beckett matted and framed at Framers Supply. I was really pleased with how it came out. I highly recommend going there for all your professional framing needs. You know it's a good gift when your husband tears up on Christmas morning - score!

As for the other 20%, we had a photo book printed of Beckett's first year for the grandparents and one for us too. But that's another post altogether, because it's so awesome. We also ordered a Little Pim language set for B to start teaching him Spanish, while he learns English. Other than that, the package deliveries were pretty limited this year.  And happily so.
December 9, 2011

Stopping Night Nursing - The Journey

You can find out how nights 1, 2, and 3 went here and here.

Here is the long awaited update on our night weaning adventure. We made it through the 9 nights recommended by Dr. Jay Gordon's plan. But Becks never really progressed past the tossing and turning and frequent waking. He woke every half hour or so and basically just bitched at me for not letting him nurse. It wasn't a flat out sob, but just a prolonged and high pitched, grumpy whine, with lots of pushing up to a sitting position and then throwing himself, face first into the mattress.

I was fairly exhausted. Hillary still takes care of B during the day, as you may recall, so I let him sleep on the couch so he had the energy to chase after our little viking all day. By night 8 I was so tired that during a couple of his wake ups I totally forgot what our plan was and I think I just latched him on, or maybe that was a dream - it's kind of a blur.

What would have been night 10 was spent in Atlanta, the beginning of a 3 night stay with some of Hillary's family for Thanksgiving weekend. Well I wasn't going to let Becks keep the whole house up, so we reverted back to our old ways and I haven't tried weaning again since.

But I'm building up the mental strength to start it once again. I am going to draw out each stage a little longer this time. But we're traveling for Christmas too, so maybe I should just wait for the fresh start of a new year? On the other hand, it's really never a good time - there's always something.

And so it continues...
December 5, 2011

Holiday Comforts - In the Eye of the Beholder

This post is sponsored by Tempur-Pedic, the brand millions of owners trust to deliver their best night’s sleep every night. Enjoy our Buy 2, get 1 free pillow offer now and give the gift of custom comfort to someone you love.

The first thing that pops into my mind when I think of comfort during the holidays is a quiet evening, baby sound asleep, curled up on the couch with H, a nice warm mug of something - maybe hot tea, preferably something mulled - cider, wine - who cares? It's mulled. The house is dark, with only the white Christmas tree lights to see by and everything smells like cinnamon and warmth.

Ahem, okay, that was a lovely moment of creative visualization. Now back to your regularly scheduled reality. I swear we have every moment until New Years scheduled at this point. Comforts are found on the run these days -
  • A nice drive in the car when B has fallen asleep and H and I can have a quiet conversation about something unparenting related.
  • A holiday flavored bevvie from a local coffee shop - to go.
  • Listening to holiday tunes on Spotify while wrapping gifts.
  • Taking a time-out during our Christmas travel or shopping to stop for a sit down meal, being sure to tip a little extra for the mess that B will undoubtedly leave behind.
  • Taking a little extra time to pick out the perfect present - at a local retailer, of course.
If I really think about it though, what makes me feel the best and most at ease during the holidays is knowing I will be surrounded by my family. I know, weird right?

I have a large family and I am genuinely interested in what they are all up to. Especially my generation, of which I am at the beginning of. Many of them are getting married, having babies, starting interesting careers or studying cool things in school. I don't get to see them half as much as I'd like, so getting some solid catch up time during one of the many gatherings over Christmas is wonderful.

It makes me feel good me to think that by the time the holidays are over I will have a better handle on what my nearest and dearest have been up to since the last time I saw them. I really can't wait for that.

Comfort is the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday gift list, so be sure to take advantage of Tempur-Pedic's Buy 2, get 1 free pillow offer! I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective

About Town - The Paper

I really can't say enough about what an awesome publication The Paper is and how proud I am to be a part of it. All local, all postive stories to remind you that the world isn't actually in the shitter, which is the picture the main stream media paints. If you live in Louisville, or the surrounding areas, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. The locations you can get them are listed here.

And if you aren't in the distribution area, check us out online.

Here are some links to the stories I've had published in the last few months -

The Barons of Green - A local family runs an awesome green supply store in Westport Village.
A Growing Family - The story of a lovely little family who tend a beautiful farm.
Natural Baby Boom - A feature on natural parenting resources and support.
December 1, 2011

Our Owned Abode

H and I bought a house! We are currently still in the process of making it a home, but all in good time. The really nice thing about our Fifties ranch is that we were able to move in without doing a single thing to it. Of course we have all sorts of things planned, but it's mostly cosmetic. The place was in solid shape.

I love so many things about it, but I'll just share a few - like the driveway - you don't get those in apartments. The yard is just lovely and we have 5 trees! We are deeply enjoying the dishwasher, something I've been without for years.

And I am ridiculously thrilled about this stacked closet of shelves behind the door in the master bedroom. I've always wanted to have my purses and scarves displayed so neatly.

This is my favorite tree, smack in the middle of the back yard. It's leaves were a shimmery yellow, almost chartreuse, just before we moved in and then the ground was that color and the tree was bare. Our first full weekend was spent raking, but I have to admit I mostly just took photos of B in the leaves while Hill raked.

Just behind the house is a creek with a group of ducks that seem to always hang out within a three house area. Beckett loves to watch them and yells "DOG" every time. Which, if you think about it, kind of sounds like duck, so I think he knows what he's talking about.

November 30, 2011

The Snyder Twins - Support a Family in Need

A dear friend of mine lost her sister, Michal, last week due to complications following a c-section. She gave birth to gorgeous twins - Reverie and Jackson - who are healthy and doing well. My heart breaks for my friend, her family and the children and husband Michal left behind.

Michal's husband, Jay, will be needing a lot of support raising twins on his own. The family has set up a very well done website for anyone who would like to help Jay and his new babies. Please visit - - for more information on how to donate.

Here are some words from the family:

Michal Lura Friedman lost her life on Friday, November 25 in New York City, due to complications from a c-section, shortly after delivering healthy twins, Jackson James and Reverie Vivian Snyder.

For those of you who never met her, Michal was a passionate, beautiful, talented woman who was thrilled to be pregnant with her first children. Many of you know "Michal the Girl" as a musician, but her greatest dream was to be a mother. For the past seven years, Michal and Jay had been using all of their resources to make this dream come true. Michal was widely loved and has left behind many friends, particularly in her Buddhist, musician and voice acting communities.

Many people have asked how they can help Michal's husband Jay and their children. This generosity is greatly appreciated and would provide tremendous relief. Although there will obviously be needs far into the future, we are trying to help with immediate expenses, which will add up so quickly with twins. Jay needs all the support he can get in order to provide the care that's needed for Jackson and Reverie.

To that end, a website has been set up where people can make donations:

We so much appreciate all of your love and support.

Please help this wonderful family out if you can. Thank you!
November 17, 2011

Stopping Night Nursing - The Journey - Nights 2 & 3

{This is what I stare at all night to see if we are making progress or not.}

You can find out how Night 1 went here.

Night 2

B woke up in his crib just a little after 10:00 p.m. and I was pretty tired, so I decided just to head to bed. This is a pretty typical evening for us. He fell asleep nursing and I fell asleep sometime in there too. He woke up for the first time around 12:45. I let him nurse for a minute, then unlatched expecting the sky-is-falling reaction I got the night before, but he only whined momentarily and went back to sleep with a few pats on the back. Lovely!

That continued to be the case for the rest of the night. The only problem was he woke up about every hour. I was able to nurse him briefly and then get him back down within 10 minutes or so. There was about 45 minutes in the 2:00 a.m. hour that contained a lot of flopping and crawling into me and the wall and pushing his face into everything in a sleepy search for his comfort. Kind of sad. But he didn't really cry too much. So I just tried to make sure he didn't really go anywhere and rubbed his back when I could.

I called open season on the nursing again at 5:30 a.m., instead of 6:00, because he tends to wake on the half hours and at that point I was ready to get a good uninterrupted hour in before the alarm clock went off.

Night 3

Hmm...what might convey the way I feel today? Oh yes - YAAWWWNNN. Last night was a bit of a challenge. He woke as usual about 12:30 and I got him back to sleep fairly quickly, but from 1:40 to 4:15 he was a mess. He cried and flopped about. He would fall asleep for just long enough to give me hope that this was it, he was officially down and I could un-tense my entire body. But then 3 or 5 minutes later he would throw his arm in the air and let out a wail of protest. We struggled for those hours.

When he fell asleep it was snuggled next to me for about an hour. Then at 5:15 I gave up and just gave him what he wanted. We both slept until 7:30 and than my wonderful husband came in and took B for breakfast while I had a blissful half an hour of babyless sleep.

Onward - stage 2.
November 16, 2011

Shopping Local Louisville - Pre Holiday

{Some goodies for the mama's to be}

I haven't started my holiday shopping yet, but my goal is to do as much as possible at local, independent retailers who sell locally made products. We owe some of our friends and family some baby and wedding gifts and so I decided to start with the local shopping early - it should really be an all the time type of deal.

I started with colorful burp cloths from The Diaper Fairy, who upcycles the cloth diapers she takes out of rotation by dying and bundling them. Then I headed over to Mama's Hip to pick up some of my favorite baby and mama products, a few of which happen to be made locally by Divine Creations and Peace of the Earth.

For our friends who recently got married we bought a lovely bottle of Kentucky bourbon - Blanton's and I stopped in at Greenhaus for some Cellar Door chocolates and some Argo Sons coffee - but alas they were out of coffee. So this one still needs a little something to finish it up. Any ideas?

I had so much fun going to all my favorite places and it felt really great to know that my money is going back into our community. Now to come up with locally sourced Christmas gifts for my family - there is so much to choose from. 
November 15, 2011

Stopping Night Nursing - The Journey - Night 1

So you all know that we co-sleep, but what you may not know, is that Beckett doesn't sleep through the night. He still wakes often, sometimes hourly, to nurse, or sometimes I think it's just to latch on for comfort and fall immediately back to sleep. This is pretty normal for co-sleeping babies - I mean imagine sleeping next to a bag of chocolate chip cookies - you'd probably snack a few times during the night. This worked for a long time, but B is getting bigger and he's turning into quit the floppy sleeper. For the last few months my husband and I have not been getting quality sleep. What to do?

Well I came across a great blog, The Leaky Boob, at the exact time the woman who writes the blog was going through this same thing, although I think she toughed it out longer than I have and with more children. She had good results with a method she tried and it seemed to be along the same parenting guidelines H and I are comfortable with. The program is from Dr. Jay Gordon's website. I recommend reading the entire thing if you are considering this, but here is a little bit about part 1 of the plan.

He recommends this for babies over a year old, not infants. This is the plan for the first 3 nights.

"At any time before 11 p.m. (including 10:58) nurse to sleep, cuddle and nurse when he wakes up and nurse him back to sleep, but stop offering nursing to sleep as the solution to waking after 11 p.m.. Instead…..

When your baby awakens at midnight or any other time after 11 p.m., hug him, nurse him for a short time but make sure he does not fall asleep on the breast and put him down awake. Rub and pat and cuddle a little until he falls asleep but don’t put him back on the breast (or give him a bottle if that’s what you’ve been doing). He must fall asleep with your comfort beside him, but not having to nurse to feel comforted enough to drift off.

Now, he will tell you that he is angry and intensely dislikes this new routine. I believe him. He will also try to tell you that he’s scared. I believe he’s angry, but a baby who’s had hundreds of nights in a row of cuddling is not scared of falling asleep with your hand on his back and your voice in his ear. Angry, yes. Scared, no, not really.

During these first three nights, repeat this pattern only after he has slept. He might sleep for fifteen minutes or he might sleep for four hours, but he has to go to sleep and reawaken to get cuddled and fed again."

So I began this process last night. Hillary decided to sleep in another room, so at least one of us was rested for the day. Of course, B must have known I was up to something because he slept from 8 to 11:30 in his crib - which he never does. He has some bad diaper rash and I changed his diaper when he woke, so he was very upset. So I cheated a little and nursed him to sleep at 11:30.

He woke at 1:15 a.m. and I nursed him for a few minutes, unlatched him and snuggled him in tight. He did not like this and as predicted proceeded to thrash around, scream, sob and press his face into me for the next 30 minutes. My will started to give a little around the 20 minute mark, but I held strong and did not let him nurse. I patted, I shushed, I sang, I squeezed, I kissed. Finally he flopped down on his face with his butt in the air and went to sleep. I have never been so relieved.

At 3:30 and 4:30 he woke. Again I nursed for a few minutes, then unlatched. He protested, but nothing like before. He was back asleep within 10 minutes.

At 5:30 he woke again and I was tired. I figured it was close enough to 6:00 and just let him nurse. He fell back asleep and we both slept through the alarm until almost 8:00. So no shower for me before work. At least it's a home office.

I am pleased with the results. It could have been worse. We'll see what happens tonight. I will try to stick to the rules this time.

September 30, 2011

Vintage Western - First Birthday Party

Some photo highlights from Beckett's first birthday. We went with a vintage western theme. It was a great time.  Enjoy!

He was suspicious of the cake.

Ben & Sam

September 29, 2011

Beckett Laughlin - 1 Year

A year ago this week I was in a state of shock and awe. (Sorry if that conjured up images of the last presidential administration for you.) Beckett, all pink and with a lopsided head, came to us three weeks early. I had only washed the cloth diapers that day and my parents had to finish putting his room together while we were in the hospital. It was an awesome surprise.


The last year has been chalk full of cliches. It is true that you have never loved anyone or thing as much as your own child. It is true that watching them grow and become independent before your eyes makes time pass at a frightening pace. And it is true that when you have a helpless being under your care you begin to worry about things you wouldn't have thought twice about in your childless years. There have also been surprises - too many to even mention. (What? All babies don't just go to sleep? You actually have to bounce them down EVERY time?) What has become clear over the last year is how much I was missing before I had Beckett in my life. I look back on my twenties and (very) early 30's with fondness, but I had no idea how much more fulfilled I could feel as a person.


And so he grows. There are still only the two bottom teeth, which are so cute I don't care if he ever gets any more. He stands for long stretches and cruises around the furniture, but no independent steps just yet. Today I think I almost had him saying "more" to ask for more cheese. It sounded like "ma-r." He's got "mama" and "dada" down pat and pulls them out when he wants to tug on our heart strings especially hard. Speaking of patting, he enjoys beating on just about everything he can get his hands on. Lord help the neighborhood girls if he plays the drums, he already has blue eyes and blond hair, they wouldn't stand a chance.

Happy Birthday, Beckett. Thank you for teaching me so much over this first year of our lives together. I hope I can return the favor.

September 17, 2011

Hogan McLaughlin - Fashion Designer

{Hogan putting the finishing touches on one of his dresses}

I have been meaning to post about my amazing cousin Hogan McLaughlin for a while now and in the meantime he just kept climbing the rungs on the ladder of success. So now i have much to tell you. I have posted about my dear Hogan before - back in 2008, when he was accomplishing so much in the dance world. He has now changed tracks and is thriving in the world of high fashion. He has good taste in worlds.

He recently completed his first amazing collection - view it on his website. And this week some of his creations were featured in an exhibit on the style of Daphne Guinness at The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

 {My copy of the Homicidal Heiress}

So here's the short version - Hogan is a talent. He dances, he draws, he sings, he designs.  Daphne Guinness is a fashion icon and an heiress of the Guinness Family - yes, like the Irish stout. I don't know her, but she's clearly an intellegent and wonderful woman, because when Hogan sent her some of his drawings in a book he put together called the Homicidal Heiress, via Twitter of all things, she recognized his talent right away.

Since Ms. Guinness opened the door for Hogan, he is being recognized for his talent, hard work and vision. It seems a balance by the Universe that a Guinness should assist in the fame of a McLaughlin, since our family has done so much to assist the Guinness fortune over the years.

Now allow me a moment to gush. I am the second oldest of a very large, inordinately close, extended family. Last time I counted there were 32 in my generation. I could write a post similar to this one on how proud I am of each of them. But this is Hogan's post and I am just thrilled he is getting so much well deserved attention of his great talent. So cheers to you, my dear. I always knew you were destined for greatness. We love you!

Here is some recent press on Hogan that will give you an example of his talent and eloquence -

A lovely interview on I Want To Be A Coppola - here.
An article w/ photos in New York Magazine on the FIT exhibit - here.
Photos in Vogue Italia (!) of Hogan and his sister Lucy who is STUNNING in some of Hogan's creations - here.
An article in (read the last 2 paragraphs) - here.

September 14, 2011

One of Those Moments

Beckett has responded to "no" for a while now, but I wasn't sure if it was the actual word or the tone of our voices when we say it. And last week he clapped when I said the word clap, without making any physical gesture for him to copy. Then yesterday when I was reading him his bedtime story, I read the line "I love you when you give me kisses," and he turned around from facing the book and gave me a big open mouthed, wet, baby kiss. It was seriously amazing.

It makes sense. We are constantly kissing this kid. Pretty much if I am holding him, my lips are attached to his face. And we're always saying, "kisses!" in ridiculous voices. So now it's clear. We really have to watch what we're saying. Because he gets it. He can't say it back yet, but he knows and if he doesn't he will soon. Shit just got real, people. I mean, shizz...shoot...ugh.
September 7, 2011

BRAS - Breast Research Awareness & Support

My father-in-law is an interesting guy. He's mostly retired from a long career in marketing, but dons many a hat, such as inventor and arts website curator. He and my lovely mother-in-law love to entertain and when we visit them it is just as likely that we will have brunch with a variety of interesting characters or be entertained by a bluegrass band comprised of high school students, as enjoy a quiet meal, just the five of us.

So on a recent visit it was no surprise that they were visited by a gentleman and his two kids who immediately went out back to the pool. The adults stayed to socialize. Over the next little while I learned about Chip (the gentleman) and his wife's cutting edge business and my interest was piqued.

They run a facility called BRAS - Breast Research Awareness and Support - here in Louisville, which provides women with an alternative to breast cancer detection and the dreaded mammogram. The technology is called thermography. And it's essentially as easy as having a photo taken of The Sistas and waiting a day for the results. Totally pain and agony free. There's no smashing or mashing and, best of all, no radiation exposure, which accumulates over time - think of that the next time you're at the dentist...yikes.

It's so great to hear about an innovative new front for detecting breast cancer. The fight has a new ally. Check out their FAQ's for more info.
September 5, 2011

Beckett Laughlin - 10 & 11 Months

I've been remiss in posting monthly birthday photos of Becks. We are already in our second week of 11 months and you know what that means, a - First Birthday Party!! - is right around the corner.

I really can't believe I'm about to have a one year old. It feels like he just arrived and he's been here all along, at the same time. Sometimes I'm shocked that I have a child at all.

More to come on the par-tay. But here are a few snaps to catch you up. 

B at 10 months. He's the fastest crawler in the west. He was super into standing and cruising along along the furniture, but he has learned that he can get around so well on his hands and knees that there is no real point in trying to become a biped. Maybe next month...

I'm not in the habit of posting blurry photos to the Manifesta, but this just describes Becks at 11 months so perfectly. Curious. He is everywhere and interested in it all. After months of wearing mostly just a onesie due to the warm weather, in the last night or two I've put footie pajamas on him because it's a nice chilly temp by the time the morning rolls around. He is amazed by his sleeves and tries to pick the little frogs off of the fabric. It's pretty precious.

So next up - 1 year and possibly a walker. Time is like water through my fingers...who said that originally? Likely someone.
August 26, 2011

How We Ended Up on Good Morning America - Part 3 (The Viewing)

And here we are - the final results. This is my last post about GMA - swear! But I couldn't let it just pass by after all the build up and not tell you what I thought of it. So my reaction is...pleasantly surprised!

I think the producer, Sharde, did a great job. It's light and they left the Dr.'s opinions out of it, for the most part. It's just our story and the correspondent's story, who's daughter is older and keeps returning to her parent's bed in the middle of the night, because "it's cozy." She's darling.

Speaking of darling. My sweet Becks comes off as the cutest kid on the planet in this segment, even if the stupid info bar is over his face for half of it.

The correspondent just happens to be Cameron Mathison, who many know as Ryan Lavery from All My Children. And I must admit, I wouldn't get out of his bed either. I had a little moment when I found out he was going to be narrating our story, because from the time I was 12 to about 15, or whenever I started lusting after boys I could actually date, he was my BIG TIME crush. So there was a little bit of running around the house and calling my mom and grandma - who is a huge AMC fan (and no one is more upset that it's going of the air than her).

So give it a watch. I think it's fun and interesting. Of course on GMA's facebook page there were tons of comments about how people who sleep with their kids are bringing on the apocolypse and ruining everything, but that's to be expected. Everyone's got an opinion.
August 23, 2011

How We Ended Up On Good Morning America - Part 2 (The Taping)

This is the story of how we ended up on Good Morning America. You can read Part 1 here

On Sunday GMA sent the lovely Sharde to our home. She is the producer and was in charge of shooting and writing the piece on co-sleeping. She told us she prefers to have a camera crew and after watching her take the camera on and off the tri-pod and move it all around to get the perfect shot, I don't blame her. But for this particular situation I think it worked out for the best. She was very unobtrusive and didn't freak the baby out in our tiny apartment, which may not have been the case with a few additional people.

She started by taping some play time with us and Becks. Then got some footage of him eating dinner. After that she was very gracious while I took time to nurse him and get him in his jammies. After Hillary got him sleeping in his crib it was time for our interviews, first me, then Hillary and finally both of us together.

I was pretty nervous, but Sharde was a good interviewer and put me at ease. I answered the questions honestly and tried to be succinct, which is much easier for me through the written word than when I'm speaking.  I was much more at ease with Hillary sitting next to me.

Finally came the last shot, which I was very uncertain about. Sharde wanted to get us all in our family bed. Now, on a normal night Beckett sleeps in his crib until he wakes up any time between 9 p.m. and midnight and then I bring him in with us and we sleep cozily until the morning.

But tonight was different. So Hillary and I turned down our nicely made bed and H crawled under the sheets in his jeans and white t-shirt. I picked up a sleeping Beckett out of his crib - something we are not in the habit of doing and laid him in his spot in the big bed. Then I crawled in beside him, very carefully, as to not wake my light sleeper.

Not only did he stay asleep in the bed while Sharde's camera light swarmed around his head, he didn't even twitch when we picked him back up and placed him back in his crib. I was amazed!

It seems like it would be really intrusive to have Good Morning America in your bedroom while you pretend to sleep, in your jeans, with your actually sleeping son and also pretending husband. But it wasn't and just kind of felt like helping a friend with a project for school or something.

So the episode airs tomorrow (Wednesday) during the 8 o'clock hour of the show. I hope we come across as being people who have done their research and are confident and comfortable in the decision they made. But mostly I hope it is clear that we do it because it works and is right for our family.
August 22, 2011

How We Ended Up On Good Morning America - Part 1

Life is weird.

As anyone who has read my blog for a little while knows, my family co-sleeps. I wrote about it here. A reporter from the Huffington Post came across that blog entry while she was doing research for a story about co-sleeping. She contacted me and asked if I would mind speaking to her about it. I was honestly delighted. We had, what I thought to be, a lovely interview. She was very nice and I spoke in glowing terms about co-sleeping and explained that, yes in the beginning we didn't talk about it, but now we are confident in our decision and really enjoy it.

This is not what came across in the article, which you can read here.  While the headline is now - Co-Sleeping Bad For Kids? These Parents Kept It Secret - it originally read - Co-Sleeping Bad For Kids? These Parents Are Ashamed. I never told the reporter I was ashamed, because I wasn't. Also, she did not make it clear that while we didn't talk about it in the beginning, we do now. Clearly, since she found me through my blog post about it, I wasn't trying to hide anything.

So the morning it went live on Huff Po, Hillary and I had a good rant about journalistic integrity and by mid-afternoon had almost completely forgotten it.

That evening we got a confused call from my sister-in-law saying that someone from ABC News called them looking for us. We are apparently not listed. Side note - the last time my sister-in-law got a phone call from someone looking for us, it was the Chicago Police Dept. because they found Hillary's wallet that had been pick-pocketed on the El. She must think our lives are much more exciting than they actually are.

After a 15 minute phone conversation with the woman at ABC News wherein I learned they are interested in sending a camera crew out to interview us about co-sleeping I think to ask, "What show is this for?" From the other end I hear - "Good Morning America - it's a news and..."

"Um yeah, I've heard of it." Oh. My. God.

I immediately starting pointing to the phone and  mouthing "Good Morning America wants to interview us," to Hillary who is staring at me, mouth agape.

We briefly had the are we sure we want to air our lives on television conversation with hand gestures and whispers, while the ABC News woman was explaining they would probably fly someone out over the weekend.

Basically what we decided was that co-sleeping works for us and we're totally comfortable talking about that to anyone.

Then we spent the next two days coming up with every possibly scenario for what would happen when GMA actually showed up at our house. There was a lot of - WHAT am I going to wear? What is Beckett going to wear? And we need to go to Target and get some loose powder for H's bald spot!

Luckily the house was in good hands. My mom, the design queen, was in and walked around adjusting picture frames and styling flowers for us.

I have to say, it was pretty exciting.

The piece airs Wednesday August, 24 2011 during the shows 8:00 hour.

August 9, 2011

The Big Latch On - Louisville

On Saturday I breastfed Beckett in a room with 100 other women, who were also breast feeding. It was part of The Big Latch On - an event held during breast feeding week that gets women all over the world to breast feed at the same time. This year Louisville had 101 participants and 4,123 women participated across the globe. It was organized by the wonderful women behind Mama's Hip and The Diaper Fairy and possibly some other lovely pro-breastfeeding companies in town.

Becks was more excited than he looks, especially when he found out he got to snack! I didn't really know what to expect, but the turn out was amazing. It made me so happy to know there are this many women in town who took the time to show how important they feel breast feeding is. Sometimes I feel like I'm in such a bubble, I know what my friends and I hold dear, but are we even close to being on the same page as anyone else. Turns out, that yes, we are. It was an empowering feeling.

I loved seeing so many women, all different colors and creeds, gathered together. And the babies! It was cute overload. Beckett kept pointing and saying 'da!' every time he saw a new one. I'm sure he thought we'd returned him to his people. It was adorable.
August 7, 2011

Summer's Bounty - Rooftop Garden

I've lived in apartments most of my adult life, so growing a garden wasn't really in the cards. But we have relatively easy access to the roof in our current place and so I decided to try my hand at growing some tomatoes. I'd heard heat and humidity is what these delicious fruit love, and we have that down here in spades. So I planted an heirloom variety that my brother started from seed in a big felt planter my mom bought and let her grow.

I was thinking they would be safe from pests up on the roof, but within the first week a squirrel had eaten one of my two plants down to a stump. Bastard squirrel. He must not have liked the taste of the other plant, however, because he never even nibbled a leaf. The caterpillars do like it, but its been easy to pick them off. How did they even get up there?

Today I picked my first red tomato! She may be a little too green still on top, but I couldn't wait. She has been hanging around for a while but just reddened up over the past few days. Hopefully she'll ripen fully on the window sill. So exciting!!
August 4, 2011

The Paper - About Louisville & The Awesomeness It Contains

It's been a while since I've read any print publication cover to cover. Earlier this week The Paper changed that. Yes, I am a contributor (you can read my story here) but that has little to do with my entertainment. The first issue is chalk full of one interesting article after another.

The Mperfect (i.e. Matt Dobson and Jason Pierce) publication is all about our city and the people doing great stuff in it and for it. They are focusing on and highlighting the good and interesting that surround us Louisvillians daily and that's just what The Paper is - good and interesting.

Copies can be purchased ($.50) at Please & Thank You on E. Market - like you need a reason to go there. Only a smattering of stories from the full issue are online, so go out and get the whole thing and settle in for a cover to cover read.
July 25, 2011

Birth Story - Violet Emilia - Part 2

Without further adieu here is the conclusion of Violet Emilia's birth story...

Dr. Crane had already let me stall long past the point when many doctors would, and he finally said they needed to give me pitocin to get me to progress. They had put a monitor inside me to measure my contractions (which was not comfortable) and my uterus was also getting tired, so the contractions weren’t doing as much as they should. I didn’t think I could take stronger contractions than I’d been having for an undetermined length of time and still have enough energy to push, and I told Dr. Crane that, assuming that meant I'd need a c-section. He said he thought I could do it, but after I'd told him no a few times, he gave our doula a pointed look and she said gently, "You know, you could get an epidural with the pitocin." It hadn't occurred to me that I could get one and it wasn't until later that I realized Dr. Crane wasn't offering one because it said not to in our birth plan. That was the best idea I'd heard all day. After that it took about an hour to hydrate me through an IV and get the anesthesiologist in, but I asked with almost every contraction when my epidural was coming.

It arrived at about 4 p.m. and really did take away all of the pain. It was surreal. I could see on the monitor that I was having a contraction and occasionally feel a bit of pressure, but really nothing. I was supposed to rest and I think I slept for about a half hour, but it turns out they gave me too much of the epidural. It made me get sick again and my left leg was so numb I could barely move it and I was freezing cold and shivering. At 6:30 p.m., everyone expected me to be fully dilated, but I was only 9 ½ cm. By 7:30 I was so close Dr. Crane manipulated the last bit of the cervix out of the way during a contraction so I could finally push.  

Cheryl told me I needed to get the baby out quickly and I knew I didn’t have much time. I found out later Dr. Crane had pulled Anthony aside in the hallway to tell him this was my last chance. They were worried about the baby’s heart rate and also about my blood pressure. They turned the epidural off so I could feel everything to try to make me more efficient. My first push was pretty effective, but the baby’s heart rate dropped below a safe level and they made me stop pushing for the next few contractions. 

The nurse was trying to get me to turn over, which would have slowed things down more, but the baby’s heart rate came back up just in time and I was able to resume pushing. Cheryl was on one leg, the nurse on another and Anthony behind my back and they all helped me basically do a crunch with each contraction. A few pushes in, Dr. Crane was able to reach inside me and turn the baby to face the right direction, which stabilized her heartbeat. Anthony was great, telling me how much I was progressing each time I pushed, and after several more pushes they told me to reach down to feel the top of her head. The pushing didn’t hurt nearly as much as my contractions and was actually pretty cool. It definitely hurt, but it was a different kind of pain. 

Violet was born at 8:08 p.m. on December 6th, 2010, after only 40 minutes of pushing and a 41 hour labor. I always assumed I'd sob when she was finally born. Anthony was crying, and I may have shed a tear or two, but I was mostly in shock. We just kept staring at our amazing baby, in between the doctor tidying me up and Cheryl helping us start breastfeeding and all that new baby stuff.
{Emma, Anthony and Baby Violet!}

They put Violet directly on my chest when she was born, but Dr. Crane asked to weigh her before he left, since he'd been hinting at her size for weeks. She came in at a whopping 9 lb 6 oz and 22 inches. 
{A big girl!}
Everyone assumes I must be miserable about my labor, I guess because it was so long, but it was the most incredible day(s) of my life. And I'm not just saying that because it ended with the best bonus you can ever get. It was fascinating to go through the whole journey and I'd do it again the same way. I feel so lucky to have the doula and doctor we did, when almost any other OB would have had me in an operating room hours before the end. And although all babies are pretty special, Violet is extra super amazing. We love her so much!
{Beautiful Violet}

Thank you so much, Emma and Anthony for sharing your amazing story with us. I am so amazed at the similarities and differences between all these stories. Every baby comes into this world with it's own story. It's beautiful.
July 24, 2011

Birth Story - Violet Emilia - Part 1

I have another wonderful birth story for you today from the Baby Momma series - Violet Emilia!

She lives in Los Angeles, CA with her mom, Emma, and father, Anthony. Emma is a researcher for a global search firm and did an amazing job telling her birth story. Violet is now 7 month old. Take it away, Emma...

Like Sara, I'd always wanted a natural birth. At first it was partly to know what it felt like and partly to see if I could do it, like some kind of test. Enough people I knew had done it that I thought I could too. Once I actually got pregnant and learned about all of the benefits to the baby, I was more determined than ever to forgo drugs or any interventions, if at all possible. We took Bradley Method classes and ended up hiring the teacher, Cheryl, as our doula. 

Our doctor, Dr. Crane, said how your birth turns out is mostly luck. I wanted to influence what I could and the Bradley Method includes all these exercises to make sure the baby is in the right position. I never ended up doing all the prenatal yoga I envisioned and the exercise DVDs I bought went mostly unused, but I was disciplined about those damn arches and squats...anything to avoid the back labor my mom had with me. At 28 weeks, we learned the baby was in the posterior position (facing the front, which causes back labor), but by the next visit, with a lot of Bradley exercises and a few bouts of baby movement that looked like the movie Alien, I got her into the anterior position (facing my back, which is good) and she was still there for my last doctor's visit.
Dr. Crane is like an absent-minded, socialist professor in the form of a Beverly Hills OB to the rich and famous (and us). We switched to him at 24 weeks because he's known for not intervening unless he has to, but about six weeks before my due date he started saying he'd be happy if she came any time, because: "this is a big baby and you are a relatively small person." I'm not that mini and have a full set of hips, so I laughed him off and hoped she'd at least wait till I was done with work. I started having pretty regular contractions about two weeks out, so I wasn't sure she would. In the week before my due date, when I started dilating and effacing and all that fun stuff, Dr. Crane offered multiple times to sweep my membranes: "Just so you know it's an option. This is a big baby and you want a natural birth." I declined. She would come when she was ready. And when she was almost a week late and I was no longer working, I figured I might as well enjoy it. I took long walks with Anthony, my awesome husband, and got acupuncture to try to coax her out as naturally as possible; I went to a restaurant for a salad that's supposed to bring on labor within 24 hours of eating it (which seems like a clever marketing gimmick), and mostly I read and read, curled up on the couch in a very un-Bradley position (you're supposed to sit up straight). 

{Darling Emma trying to walking it out}

On Sunday morning, December 5th, five days after my due date, I woke up at 3 a.m. with strong contractions every 10 minutes. I'd had these before, but there were more of them this time, then they stretched out to about every 20 minutes as it got light out. Cheryl had said if labor's not getting stronger when the sun comes up, the baby probably won't come until dark, so I figured I had a while to wait. I tried to relax as much as possible and tried to read the last book of the Hunger Games Trilogy, but even though I'd zoomed through the first two books in a few hours, it was hard to concentrate. Anthony fixed me some stew at about 1 p.m. and then convinced me to lie down. I was able to sleep in the gaps between a couple of contractions. 

By about 4 p.m. the contractions had worked their way back to 10 minutes apart. I finally gave up on reading and Anthony made me eat some yogurt. The most amazing thing to me about my labor (besides bringing a person into the world) is that I didn't want to eat. I normally need to eat every two to three hours or I become a lunatic. I was convinced I'd want to carboload for the biggest physical challenge of my life, so I'd planned yummy meals of pancakes and snacks of mochi and Anthony had been making ice cubes out of Recharge for weeks. But whatever I put in wanted to come out and that just wasn't comfortable, so I couldn't eat and had to force myself to keep drinking. 

By 9 p.m., my contractions were generally about five minutes apart, but sometimes they were two minutes, sometimes eight minutes and a lot of times they were back to back, which I later learned is called coupling. My actual back hurt a LOT during the contractions and I kept asking Anthony to press as hard as he could on a spot by my spine. 

The idea was to stay home as long as possible, but we called Cheryl at this point to have her come over and called the doctor’s office, since we were supposed to let him know when contractions were five minutes apart. The doctor on call did notify our doctor, but he also told us that because my contractions were irregular they probably weren’t doing as much as they should and we should wait until they became more predictable to actually talk to Dr. Crane. This was frustrating, because I felt like he was telling me what was happening didn’t count, but Cheryl got to our house right after that and was able to help with another set of hands to press on my back and positions to make me more comfortable. She was just the right height for me to collapse onto during each contraction. She also told me that the pain in my back wasn't just how a contraction feels - I was having the dreaded back labor. All that curling up on the couch backfired and the baby turned in my last week of pregnancy!  This also explained the irregular contractions and coupling. Cheryl gave me some homeopathics to try to make my contractions more efficient and put me in some other, very uncomfortable positions to see if the baby would turn, but things pretty much continued on the same way. By 4 a.m. I was getting discouraged. My contractions were still two to five minutes apart and were very painful. I'd been throwing up for hours and was tired. And I uttered the dreaded words: "I want to go to the hospital to get an epidural." Cheryl just looked at me and said, "Why? All that will do is get rid of the pain." I have no idea why that shut me up, but it seemed like reasonable logic. I kept going and soon after that Dr. Crane called to check in. 

We made arrangements to meet him at his office at 6 a.m. to be checked.  When I got there I was 5 to 5 ½ cm. dilated. I was hoping for more like 8 cm, but he said this was good progress. My water looked ready to break and he called the hospital so I could be admitted directly to a labor and delivery room. If we hurried, we could get the last room with a window, which I didn't really didn't care about, but they're in high demand and I wasn't going to dawdle. 

{The view from the LA hospital}

Once I was admitted and in the labor dress I'd bought so I didn't have to wear a hospital gown, they hooked me up to a monitor. The baby’s heart rate dropped during a contraction, so I was put on a portable monitor that still let me move around. My contractions continued to be pretty much every two to five minutes, like they had been all night, but at 9 a.m. I was 8 cm dilated, which was encouraging. 

At 11:30 a.m. I was still at 8 cm. Dr. Crane convinced me to let him break the amniotic sac, which relieved some of the intense pressure I was feeling, but at 1 p.m. I was still at 8 cm.

{Emma - 34 hours in - wearing her labor dress. So much better than a hospital gown!}

By 3 p.m. I was feeling the urge to push. I even let out one of those primal screams actors playing women in labor make, but when I got checked I was STILL at 8 cm, so I had to actively resist pushing. 

I was trying to stand up because this made the contractions stronger, but I was exhausted and my legs were shaking so badly it was hard to stay upright. 

July 2, 2011

Birth Story - Alice Mae

Lindsey & Alice

Next up in the Baby Momma's birth story series we have Alice Mae, daughter of Louisvillians, Lindsey & Matt. Lindsey, 31, is a high school arts teacher and amazing artist and photographer herself. Sweet Alice was born on March 10, 2011 at 1:07am and was 8 lbs., 3 oz., 22 inches long.

Here's Lindsey!

Alice was a dream baby from the beginning. Throughout my pregnancy, which was my first, she posed very few problems for me. I was able to work pretty much the whole time I was pregnant – a remarkable blessing considering I teach high school art & photography! Aside from the occasional bout of nausea and extreme fatigue that is often commonplace, there were no scares or worries. The only real tragedy was that our community garden bit the dust…the smell of dirt and taste of vegetables made me want to vomit!

Leading up to Alice's arrival I met with the midwives, read every pregnancy book I could get my hands on, took a nine week natural childbirth education class, hired and met with our doula, found out the baby was a girl, researched and registered for all the "right" baby gear, attended three baby showers (thanks again, everyone!), prepared the nursery, made practice runs to the hospital, and packed our bags. We'd already picked the name Alice Mae after my great aunt Alyce and Matt's grandma (her middle name was May), and kept it as our little secret the entire time I was pregnant. Matt read a book on being an expectant father and attended the classes with me, on top of being a new partner in a design firm and making late night runs to Kroger for the ice cream and chocolate that I craved so much (best husband ever). I was hell-bent on having a natural birth with no interventions, so I wrote a birth plan and submitted it to the hospital - after all, women have been giving birth for centuries with no drugs, right?! We were both as prepared as newbie parents could be, which is to say not much. 

So we waited. And waited. I hoped she would come early, but she had other plans. I worked a week past my due date and still nothing. I was HUGE and very uncomfortable those last few weeks. People kept asking me, "When's this baby gonna show up?" and "I thought you'd be gone by now!" and it became very difficult to concentrate on anything else. It was also hard to be on my feet that long every day, so I decided it would be best to take some time off work to regain my physical and mental strength for labor and delivery. 

At my 41 week appointment with the midwives, I elected to have my membranes stripped (yes, it's painful) and said they would have to induce the next week if there was no progress. This is not what I wanted to hear, being pro-natural birth, but I made that fateful appointment and crossed my fingers that Alice would show up on her own. In tears I called our doula, Jenny Claire, and she reminded me that due dates are only rough estimates and to stay strong.

A few nights later, my prayers were answered. Just as I was getting into bed at midnight, I heard a slight "pop"…my water had broken! YEE-HAW!!! After freaking out for a few minutes, I tried to remain calm. All that was running through my head was, "We're going to meet our baby!" over and over again. Sleep was no option because I immediately began having contractions about 10 minutes apart. I reluctantly called Jenny Claire (who was 7 months pregnant at the time) and she told me to try to eat something and rest as much as possible. Around 2am Matt made me one of the most delicious egg and cheese sandwiches of my life and I hung out in my favorite chair until morning, trying to relax between contractions. Matt didn't get much sleep, either, because every time I breathed heavily through a contraction or got up to go to the bathroom he awoke with a jolt, ready to help.

Jenny Claire arrived at our house around 9:30 in the morning and my contractions became much longer, stronger, and closer together. We hung out and watched "Let's Make A Deal" and other terrible morning TV programming to keep my mind off the pain. We decided to go to the hospital when they were about 4 minutes apart. Although it was drizzling and chilly outside, I remember thinking that it was a beautiful day to have a baby but PLEASE not in the car on the Kennedy Bridge!

Upon our arrival I was wheeled up to Labor & Delivery and got the last private room available that morning. I was in really good spirits considering the pain that was washing over me. We met our first set of nurses, one of which was named Mae (the middle name we had chosen for Alice). I took this as a good omen while they prepped me with an IV port and hooked me up to the fetal monitor among other things. They checked me and I was only 3cm, but almost fully effaced - good news. Little did we know, it would be a long day and night.

Thankfully, the room we were given had a large tub and I climbed in as soon as the nurses finished with their tasks. Baths have always been soothing for me, and this was no exception. The water took the edge off and Matt brought our iPod and speakers in for me to listen to the Relaxation Mix I made specifically for my time in labor. There I sat for hours singing along to Nina Simone, Bjork, Air, The Sea & Cake, etc. between moments of low-pitched moaning and strain. Matt and Jenny Claire took turns rubbing my shoulders, keeping me hydrated, and helping me up every so often so the nurses could hear the baby's heartbeat. One of our nurses on duty for the second round was even named Alice…I was sure we'd picked the perfect name! These are the warm, fuzzy moments of labor that I will always cherish. This was the calm before the storm.

After awhile we all realized that laboring in the tub, pleasant enough as it was, would probably not make Alice arrive any sooner. She seemed perfectly content to stay in the womb forever, our little Pisces water baby! I had no idea what time it was, but I assumed it was early afternoon judging by how wrinkly my hands were from soaking in the tub. I dried off, wrapped up in a blanket, and sat in a chair next to the bed while the nurses hooked me up to the fetal monitoring machine. Alison, my midwife, showed up and hung out for awhile thinking she would deliver me soon. (Did I mention she was ALSO very pregnant? Crazy, right?!) I was excited to see her because this meant I should be pushing soon! Little did I know, Alice would not come into the world so easily.     

From that point on everything became a fever dream - the room was undulating around me and time was suspended. I heard voices, but they were muffled and unintelligible. My vision was blurry and I rocked back and forth to cope with the intensity of the pain. I had one contraction on top of another with very few breaks for hours on end. I remember feeling like I'd truly lost my mind. At one point I was sobbing uncontrollably and saying something to the effect of, "I just want to meet her already!" I am never that whiny and impatient in real life!

When it seemed I had a break, I changed positions and tried to squat on the bed. This proved VERY painful, so I laid on my side for a little while and worked through another round of crushing contractions. Alison came over to the side of the bed and checked my progress. At this point it was around 9pm (I remember asking because everything was hazy and I couldn't see straight) and I was positive that we were close. Turns out, I was only 7cm - not much progress! I was completely crushed by the news and needed to get some rest, so everyone except Matt and Jenny Claire left the room and I was assured some peace and quiet. As soon as I closed my eyes to sleep, a nurse walked in to ask me something inconsequential. By this point I had been awake almost 36 hours straight and this was NOT the time for questions. Thankfully, Matt shooed her away before I got a chance to give her a piece of my mind! Just then, the contractions started coming again in waves, only this time they were excruciating. I held on to the side rail of the bed with my body in the fetal position and braced myself for each one. I pulled the side rail toward me with such force that Matt thought it would break off any moment. I was absolutely in the worst pain of my life and I was sure I was going to die. SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE. 
I cried out for Matt, who had been right next to me the entire time, and Jenny Claire to ask them what I should do. Obviously, some rest would help and I wasn't getting anywhere at the rate I was going. Jenny Claire fetched Alison and she sat down to explain our options. "All that matters is a healthy mom and a healthy baby", I chanted in my mind. "I don't have to kill myself trying to have it my way." It basically went down like this from my perspective:

Me: (thrashing around like a wild animal): "AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH! I need SOMETHING!
Alison: "Well, you could blah blah blah, or get an epidural which will numb you from the waist down so you can get some rest, or blah blah blah…" 
Me: (looking sideways at Matt, eyes wide and hope restored): "Did you just say EPIDURAL? And I'll be able to SLEEP?!"
Alison: "Yes, but there are risks…blah blah blah…"
Me: (with the utmost clarity): "LET'S DO THIS."

After signing some paperwork I waited for what seemed to be an hour for the doctor on-call, but in reality it was only a few minutes. Alison, Matt, and Jenny Claire had to leave the room for 30 minutes (hospital policy) while the doctor and anesthesiologist to came in and did their thang. I was told to sit up, lean forward, and remain still while she inserted the needle. That part was not so fun, but I did have the help of a great nurse who coached me through it. Then came the sweet sweet drugs that saved me. I was myself again and no longer felt like I was transforming into The Incredible Hulk. Matt and Jenny Claire came back into the room and we all collapsed to rest up for delivery, which would begin in a couple of hours.

I awoke from a deep sleep to the nurses wheeling in the cart for delivery and Alison close behind. She checked me and I was FINALLY dilated to 10cm and fully effaced! The epidural had worked its strange magic. She said, "Are you ready to meet this baby?" and we all responded with an excited "YES!" in unison. My lifeless legs were hoisted onto the stirrups and I was instructed to bear down and push even though I couldn't feel a thing. The room was buzzing with anticipation as every push got us closer to meeting our sweet baby. When her head crowned, Alison declared there was a huge curl on top -  one she still has to this day.  

Then it happened. With one big push, our sweet Alice was finally born. Everyone in the room let out a collective gasp, and our angel appeared sunny-side up (no wonder she was being so stubborn), with a loud cry! She was instantly placed on my chest and she remains the most beautiful thing my eyes have ever seen. "Hi, baby!" I said over and over again, for lack of better words to express myself. Matt and I were awestruck by this tiny person that would forever change our lives. It was love at first sight, pure and simple. As she laid there taking her first breaths, we cried tears of joy and I made Matt count her fingers and toes (10 and 10? Excellent!). Her little fingers wrapped around ours and we cuddled family-style in our little love bubble, getting to know our beautiful Alice Mae. 
 A current photo of Alice, who is now 4 months.

Amazing story! Thank you, Lindsey, so much for sharing your beautiful story. I think there's a theme with these stories - we plan, the babies call the shots. So goes the rest of our lives, or at least the next 18ish years.

Beckett - 9 Months

Starring his brand new bottom teeth!

Last week Becks turned 9 months. He's officially been with us out of the womb as long as he was in. The amount of change and growth has been no less impressive than those first 3 trimesters. He crawls like a master, but it already totally over that and is walking along the furniture. I fear he will be toddling around here in no time.

Of course, his bottom teeth have broken and are even toothier now than in the picture above. He's experimenting with all sorts of finger foods. Bananas and avocados are a fav, but they are pretty slippery so most don't end up in his mouth. He HATES Swiss cheese for some reason. He crunches up his nose and clamps his mouth shut at even the suggestion. It must be the smell. Or he inherited the distaste from his Grandma Kate, who does the same.

Sleep is still...well let's not go there. The bottom line is he's really become quite a delightful child and is rarely cranky. I could not say the same if I was as sleep deprived.

Je t'adore, Beezey.
June 30, 2011

Spa Day - At Home

Photo from the Library of Congress Photostream, Photographer: William P. Gottlieb

If you read my last post, you'll remember I was feeling a bit on the shabby side. I'm slightly less horrified by my reflextion after a little TLC that really didn't end up taking as much time as I was thinking it would. Time is at a premium as a new mom and what you can't fit into the span of a nap, gets put off...for WAY too long, in this case.

Obviously the toning is going to take a while - I found this little vid from the always helpful Daily Candy that I think will be a nice addition to the middle of my yoga practice to help whip these abs into shape a bit more quickly. My hair must also wait, but an appointment for the end of next week has been made. I'm feeling a drastic change is needed. Hopefully my stylist is up to the challenge - she's pretty awesome, so I think she will be.

A couple of years ago I would have just scheduled a full day at the spa. But I'm much more practical now (read: married) and our money goes to other things - like my 9 month old and our down payment on a house savings account. So to make myself feel better immediately I plucked my brows, filed my nails and painted my toes. I did a little steam treatment on my face and used some of the expensive eye cream I keep in the back of the medicine cabinet for just such occasions.

To exfoliate my arms and legs I mixed about a cup of sugar with some oil, until it became a paste. You can use olive oil or whatever you have in your cabinet. I like veggie oil because it's cheap and scentless so I can add a few drops of scented oil to make it a bit more luxurious. Add a foot/shoulder rub from my gracious husband and voila! A mini spa day on the cheap. Lovely! Or at the least, lovelier.